From the desk of The Rabbi – Parashat Ki Tisa: As we complete the celebration of Purim and prepare for Pesach, two thoughts linger from the laws surrounding the reading of the Megillah that resonate with us as we proceed to the next yom tov. One can sum up these two thoughts by the use of two terms: pause and retreat.The halacha tells us not to pause in the reading of the Megillah for a lengthy period of time, and it also indicates one should not read the Megillah retroactively. In other words, the scroll of Esther should be read as an ongoing letter and in order.
Symbolically, the Megillah reflects on the totality of the Jewish experience on a communal basis. Referring obliquely to the exile of the Jewish community from Judea at the beginning of the Megillah, the story recounts an episode of history that could easily have been replicated in other communities and at different periods of time, though with obvious changes, some subtle and some not. Assimilation, anti-Semitism, diaspora living, all are themes that reverberate right throughout our history.
We are reminded time and again about our fragile existence, and that the rise of a Haman is not a one-time event. At the same time, we are aware that we do not define ourselves by negative events that affect us. We live in a continuum of Jewish existence predicated and buttressed by Jewish law and a loyalty to Torah and its values.
We do not take long pauses in our observance with the intention of returning to the story of Judaism when it suits us. Though we are always welcomed back into the fold, so to speak, at any time, we are rebuked if we treat Judaism as a convenient or inconvenient tool. The Megillah, the reflection of who we are as a people, can be read with inordinate pauses, but one should read it smoothly as one would read a letter.
At the same time, we look at the Megillah as a modern document, not as a quaint, historically moving episode in our history. It is not to be read retroactively, as a review of what happened to the Jewish community of the Persian Empire some 2500 years ago. We are supposed to derive modern lessons of existence from this ancient story. The Lubavitcher Rebbe in driving this point home uses the expression quoting the Baal Shem Tov that the Megillah teaches us not to live in the past, meaning that one should not look at historical occurrences such as the story of Esther as simply history.
Similarly, as we begin to prepare for Passover, we do not look at the Exodus and the events described in regard to Matan Torah, the Golden Calf incidents,etc. as historically important but as currently relevant to our lives and to our experiences. We do not live in the past, but we use it to guide us for the present and for the future.
Lessons in Faith –NEW TIME!4:15 pm Shabbat Afternoon
Murder Mystery Purim Seuda
Rabbi Yehuda Simes zt”l Sefer Torah
We have been so pleased with the response to Rabbi Yehuda Simes ztâ€l Torah Project and with the responses so far. We wanted to share with you the launch of a dedicated website for friends in the United States to help us reach our goal. https://www.jewcer.org/project/rabbisimestorahproject/We hope you will support this worthy initiative and help us spread the word to all those who knew Rabbi Simes.Please share this link with your family, friends and people who knew Rabbi Simes and who live in the US.
The Rabbi Simes Torah Project is a celebration of the man who positively affected so many lives. His lasting influence on the Ottawa Jewish community and his Congregation is immeasurable. Rabbi Simes loved his family. He loved Judaism. He loved his community and he loved learning.
A Torah scroll dedicated in his memory will honour his love of teaching, learning and commitment to a life of Torah. This Sefer Torah will be housed at Beit Tikvah, the shul Rabbi Simes attended. In recognition of the fact that Rabbi Simes reached the entire community, the Sefer Torah will be made available and brought to other locations for Simchas and sadly, during times of sorrow.
Help us reach our goal. Donations can be made by Interac eTransfer, cheque, credit card, and PayPal or by calling the Shul office at 613-723-1800.
Donations: * General Donations: $18
* Siddurim: Koren/Artscroll $50
* Koren Talmud Bavli: $100
* Wall of Honour/brick: $118
JFS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: JFS is in need of Friendly Visitors for a few clients. All are isolated seniors in need of a little companionship, whether visits at home, over the phone, or going on outings. Some will be replacements for volunteers gone south for the winter. Students welcome. Commitment is for only 1 hour at a time, every week or twice a month. East and West end locations. 613.722.2225, ext.315 to help. ESL teacher needed beginning January 2018. Beginners’ conversational English for Russian-speaking seniors, on Mondays 1:00-2:30pm, at JFS on Carling Ave. Lesson prep, room set-up/clean up, and attendance taking. Occasional replacement for 10:30am-12 class, as well. Conversational Russian an asset, but not required. Call 613.722.2225, ext. 315 to volunteer. Russian-speaking volunteer needed to help plan and organize monthly day trips, cultural activities, picnics, and potlucks for Russian-speaking seniors. To help, please call Gohar at 613.722.2225, ext.425. Drivers urgently needed to transport clients to/from Adult Day Programs, medical appointments, and social programs. All areas of the city needed. 613.722.2225, ext.315.OTTAWA KOSHER FOOD BANK: Looking for empty resealable egg cartons to be used for the OKFB food distributions. Please contact Michelle for further information at 613-728-3501 x 235 or drop them off at the OKFB office.