Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei/Shabbat Parah – March 9 & 10
Candle Lighting: 5:43 pm
Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat: 5:50 pm
Sefer Torah Sponsor:
Lucian & Jackie Sitwell and Marcia & Barry Cantor
Please note: There will not be Downstairs Minyan or Junior Congregation this Shabbat. Ellis Solomon will be off after March 13th. Please contact the office for Loblaws Cards after that date.
From the desk of The Rabbi – Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei/Parah: The tendency to translate the Hebrew terms, Kodesh and Chol, as sacred and profane, respectively, does an injustice to these concepts. In effect, these two terms indicate in truth that which is complete, and that which is empty. The life imbued with holiness is indeed a complete life, in the sense that one can follow a moral code that has religious underpinnings. A life which is secularly oriented seems to lack that constancy in value definition, and is spiritually wanting.One of the sidebars of a life filled with holiness is the tendency for that individual to denigrate that which appears to be materially oriented. In reference to the ancient philosophical struggle between body and soul, the spiritual individual sees the body and its functions as necessary evils to be tolerated at best. The concept of original sin, as espoused by Christianity, reflects on the dichotomy between body and soul, and comes down on the side of the soul versus the sinful body.
Judaism, on the other hand, sees the synthesis between body and soul as necessary ingredients in the creation and sustaining of a spiritually minded individual. Nowhere does this thought come to mind as poignantly as in regard to the mirrors that are used to enclose the sink basin to be used by the Kohanim in preparation for religious service in the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary, and later in the Temples in Jerusalem.
Rashi, in his commentary on these mirrors, quotes a rabbinic source citing G-d as favouring the use of these mirrors because they were used by the Israelite women in Egypt to seduce their husbands who had despaired of their lives because of their subjugation at the hands of the Pharaoh and his cohorts. Rashi relates that the Hebrew women sat with their husbands in front of these mirrors asking the latter as to who were more beautiful, the wives of the Israelite slaves, or the slaves themselves. The answer was obvious, and the rest is Jewish history as they say. (For a more detailed account, see Rashi on chapter 38:9.)
What is important to derive from this citation is that an article, which in the eyes of the Christian world could have been seen as an instrument of evil, is indeed praised and is used as an integral part of the building of the Mishkan. It would be reflective of false piety to proclaim these mirrors as articles of temptation and seduction. In short, Judaism, through these mirrors, emphasizes the beauty and wonder of life, and the virtues of the propagation of life in all of its facets.
In contrast, the reading of Parshat Parah which deals with the impurity of death reflects on the converse of that which is mentioned in Vayakhel-Pekudei in relation to the holiness of life as symbolized through the mirrors used to encase the washbasin. We celebrate the milestones of life, of marriage, of the birth of a baby, the promise and hope which life can and does bring. It is the presence of G-d we desire and pray to permeate our homes. We appreciate the blessings of life, and we thank G-d for them. Our search for purity does not blind us to the beauty and majesty of life, and we see the holiness of G-d in all that He has created.
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.LIMMUD OTTAWA: offers another outstanding day of Jewish learning and culture on Sunday, March 18, 2018, at the SJCC. Limmud is truly a magical recipe of art, tradition, religion, spirituality and Jewish life, sprinkled with creativity and served to participants from all backgrounds, religious affiliations and age groups. Choose from multiple sessions every hour run by educators, artists, academics, performers, experts, and enthusiasts. We offer hands-on workshops, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and this year a very special Leonard Cohen musical tribute. Registration (Early Bird $25.00; Regular $36.00) covers all sessions, performances, refreshments, and lunch. Specials for family and children. Go to limmudottawa.ca for information, registration, and programs.
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.