Parashat Mishpatim/Shabbat Shekalim – February 9 & 10
Candle Lighting: 5:04 pm
Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat: 5:10 pm
Sefer Torah Sponsor:
From the desk of The Rabbi – Parashat Mispatim-Shekalim: Rashi, in the beginning of the sidra of Mishpatim, quotes the Talmud Gittin 88 citing the prohibition of resorting to a non-Jewish court to resolve differences. His reasoning is that the inclination to use a non-Jewish legal system desecrates and diminishes the name of G-d, and elevates the deity connected to that particular foreign legal network. By extension, Rashi’s statement is equally applicable to secular courts which are not ecclesiastical by definition.Rabbi J.David Bleich, in his Contemporary Issues in Halacha Series, volume 5, on explaining Rashi’s commentary, indicates that the recourse to a non-Jewish legal venue in a sense denies the Divine authorship of the laws of the Torah and places it in the category of contrived law developed by rabbinic scholars, ready to be discarded at will. It would not matter if the non-Jewish system ruled in consonance with Jewish law. (Though there are instances which would mandate the use of non-Jewish court systems, it is beyond the scope of this essay to examine those areas.)
While one can apply Rashi’s interpretation in a strict and narrow sense to the import of the opening sentence of Mishpatim, there is a broad approach to this matter which speaks to the spiritual malaise that affects Jews from all walks of life, observant or not. Rashiâ€™s words can indeed speak of the danger of compartmentalization that engages even the most pious of Jews.
Compartmentalization declares that a Jew is a bifurcated personality who lives two existences, one religious, and the other secular. While Halacha touches every area of life and interaction, there are many who eschew the interrelatedness of Jewish law with daily existence except in the areas of specific observances, which may be ritual or spiritual by definition. To be specific, when it is convenient, the Jew, though perhaps punctilious in his observance of certain facets of Jewish law, turns a blind eye to others.
As a case in point, monetary issues (the crux of Mishpatim) are envisioned and handled through secular law, thought and consideration. From rationalization to the use of secular court systems, the Jew perceives of Halacha as being irrelevant to the problems at hand. This resorting to other avenues outside of Halacha to pursue resolutions of issues is reflective of Rashiâ€™s comments that the Torah and its system of Divine law are diminished or disregarded.
Unfortunately, this compartmentalization can begin in our day schools and yeshivot where there is seldom any type of integration of the secular and Judaic disciplines. As a result, there is no synthesis of the two systems, resulting in concomitant disrespect for either, which translates itself into inappropriate behaviour later on in life. The Divine underpinning of Halacha is rejected, Jewish law and mores are seen to be inferior to advanced Western thought and practice, the name of G-d is desecrated.
Rashi may simply have been referring to the Jewish judicial system versus others, but his words have greater and broader ramifications. Do Jewish law and practice become second fiddle to a secular system of values?
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.JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES: Parenting in the 21st C: Free 3-Part Parenting Series for Jewish Families NEW! Tuesdays, February 6 to February 20, 6:30 – 8 pm. Is parenting leaving you feeling frustrated? Confused? Worried? Do you wonder about how to set limits? How to manage your teen’s moods, your child’s outbursts? Do you feel disrespected as a parent? Come and meet with other parents as our in-house clinical experts share some knowledge and suggestions on how to feel more confident in parenting. Rabbi Tanger will be in attendance. Pareve refreshments will be served. Sessions are free, child minding available. Contact Quinn at email@example.com. 2255 Carling Ave., Suite 300.
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.