We begin again…with the beginning of Torah, parshat Bereishit!
Parshat Vayera: God promises, Sarah delivers. Abraham pleads for Sodom and Gomorah, God denies his plea. Listening to Sarah, Abraham banishes his son Ishmael and his mother Hagar. Abraham is tested on Mount Moriah.
Lots of conflict and familial strife here. Come wrestle with it, in community.
The Holy Blessed One sends Moses/Moshe back to Egypt to lead the Israelites to freedom…. after centuries of slavery.
“But when Moses told this to the Israelites, they would not listen to Moses, their spirits crushed by cruel bondage” Exodus/Shemot 6:9
Pharaoh remains stubborn too, and plagues ensue…
THIS? OR THIS?
Jacob is dying, surrounded by his sons.
Each gets an individualized blessing…although some are not very nice.
Who and what is missing?
We conclude the first book of Torah, Genesis/Bereishit.
Chazak, chazak, v’nit’chazayk!
חזק חזק ונתחזק
Be strong, strong, and strengthen each other….
Parshat Toldot: the birth of twins Esau and Jacob, who are opposites, fighting even before they are born, in the womb of their mother Rebecca.
Deception, favoritism, trickery and other mayhem ensues. The story’s conclusion is heart breaking, and leaves us much to consider:
Genesis/Breishit Chapter 27: 30 No sooner had Jacob left the presence of his father Isaac-after Isaac had finished blessing Jacob-than his brother Esau came back from his hunt. 31 He too prepared a dish and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may give me your innermost blessing.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” And he said, “I am your son, Esau, your first-born!” 33 Isaac was seized with very violent trembling. “Who was it then,” he demanded, “that hunted game and brought it to me? Moreover, I ate of it before you came, and I blessed him; now he must remain blessed!” 34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst into wild and bitter sobbing, and said to his father, “Bless me too, Father!” 35 But he answered, “Your brother came with guile and took away your blessing.”
Parshat Vayishlach–Jacob and Esau meet again, after many years….
The night before the meeting, Jacob wrestles with an unnamed being, and gets a new name, Israel/Yisrael.
Come and wrestle with this Torah in community.
THIS? OR THIS?
Miracles, rising up against oppressor, struggles against assimilation, oil, donuts, dreidels and latkes….
Join us for a fun, festive evening.
The New Year of the Trees, a holiday celebrating our connections to the earth, appreciating everything that trees do for us. It’s a time of new growth and potential, as the sap begins to rise in the trees…in Israel, if not in Chester County!
Many traditions celebrate the return of Light as we long for Spring. There are numerous rituals and holidays in early February, which is the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Summer.
Tu Beshvat, the new year of the trees. is one of the 4 Jewish New Years. It is the time when the sap first begins to rise in the trees in Israel, the 15th day of the month of the Hebrew month of Shevat, February 4 this year.
Today we incorporate prayers/songs/blessings/contemplations /ritual in a
beautiful Winter Ceremony combining many traditions.
We will follow with Community potluck. Bring a candle and something veggie to share for lunch.