9:30 am Service in Chapel

10:00 Discussion with Bob Greenwald

Sponsored by Joe and Bedonna Mitchneck

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Shabbat Parshat Chukkat

Saturday, July 13, 2024

10:00 am in our Vestry and online


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The Torah portions of Chukat and Balak are usually combined as a double header. But this year they are read separately. As the Israelites are approaching the Promised Land nearing the end of their 40 year trek in the desert, they face numerous kings and armies and have been having a winning streak, especially in this week's Parsha and Haftorah.

The portion is also filled with much complaining on the part of the Israelites. They complain incessantly to Moses- "Why have you brought us to die in this wilderness? There isn't even any water to drink!" By this time Moses had pretty much had it with these people, so when God instructs him to take his staff and hold it over the rock to provide water for the people, Moses strikes the rock as he says, "Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?" And God ultimately punished Moses for that insubordination which gave the impression that Moses, and not God, had provided the water.

But the Israelites fought the Amorites and were successful. And then on to more enemies including King Og of Bashan. The Torah says "They defeated him until no remnant was left of him and they took possession of his country."

The complaints of the Israelites have never stopped. Nor has the threat of war to this day. And they occur simultaneously as they did in ancient times. The complaints about the national polity, who should lead, what should be the nature of the courts, all while Israel is at war in the south and in the north. Been there, done that. It's not history that repeats itself, it is Israel that does!

And so Israel is divided today as we read Chukkat. Should we accept the cease fire parameters that Hamas is willing to agree to? Aren't the hostages the ultimate priority? What's wrong if Nasralla and Hezbollah say they will cease aggression on Israel's north if Israel accepts the cease fire plan?

The question is, will we diverge from the Biblical trend at this time, or will we conform to it? The Biblical trend was the Israelites defeated their enemies. Look at the Haftorah for Parshat Chukat, which we often don't read because when combined usually with Parshat Balak, we do the Haftorah from Balak which is from the Prophet Micah- with the phrase on the front of Temple B'nai B'rith's building: "What does God demand of you? Only to do justice, love goodness, and walk humbly with God."

But in the Haftorah for Chukat we have the story of Jeptha, Yiftach, who is leading the Israelites in the conquest of Canaan. And this time, long after the war with the Ammonites that Moses fought, Jeptha leads the Israelites into battle with the Amorites in the same general location.

And here's what happened according to Judges11:21: "The God of Israel delivered the enemy troops into Israel's hands, and they defeated them, and Israel took possession of all the land. Thus they possessed all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan".

That friends, means that Israel controlled the land "from the river to the river"- that is, from the present day Country of Jordan on the East Bank all the way to the Jordan River, and everything on the West Bank as well.

Here's a map of this conquest of Canaan. The Blue Line encloses the CURRENT WEST BANK- what the Palestinians insist is their land now occupied by Israel. But everything in the Green was ALREADY conquered by the Israelites. The Yellow is what is conquered by Jeptha and the Israelites in tomorrow's Haftorah! That's modern day Jordan!

The argument against accepting the cease fire is that Hezbollah and Hamas win. I think in the short run, I'm fine with that. And when all the hostages are returned, we can let the world know exactly what will happen if one more rocket is sent into Israel.



9:30 am Service in Chapel

10:00 Discussion with Bob Greenwald

Sponsored by Joe and Bedonna Mitchneck

CALL the office 570-824-8927 or respond to this email to let us know that you're joining us!

This Sunday, July 14 we're sitting down with our own Bob Greenwald to hear first hand about his recent trip to Israel. His visit included working with Leket Israel, the Israeli national food bank. In Leviticus 19:9-10 we read:

וּֽבְקֻצְרְכֶם֙ אֶת־קְצִ֣יר אַרְצְכֶ֔ם לֹ֧א תְכַלֶּ֛ה פְּאַ֥ת שָׂדְךָ֖ לִקְצֹ֑ר וְלֶ֥קֶט קְצִֽירְךָ֖ לֹ֥א תְלַקֵּֽט׃

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.

וְכַרְמְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תְעוֹלֵ֔ל וּפֶ֥רֶט כַּרְמְךָ֖ לֹ֣א תְלַקֵּ֑ט לֶֽעָנִ֤י וְלַגֵּר֙ תַּעֲזֹ֣ב אֹתָ֔ם אֲנִ֖י יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I יהוה am your God. 

Gathering the gleanings of the field, the leftovers of the produce, is an obligation for us to provide for the needy. Especially during wartime, when many of those who work in the fields in Israel are serving in the army, volunteers are desperately needed to help. In an email home during his visit Bob wrote: In the afternoon we worked at Leket Israel. This is a non-profit that helps gather produce that is in distress from not being harvested., It's a fascinating group that you can read about online

We rescued 8500 pounds of fruit and vegetables that will be distributed to over 1900 families in need."

Bob is not only past President of Temple Israel, he also serves on the Board of Directors of the international United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. He'll explain why he went to Israel and hopefully will inspire more of us to do the same soon!

This week's Yahrzeits

(Light candle the evening before)

Friday, July 12, 2024----6 Tamuz 5784

Morris Cohen, Abner Grossman, Merle Klavonski, Joseph Silberman

Libby Weisberger, Rose Brown, Robert Kramer, Louis Raker

Douglas Klee, Rose Miller, Esther Nakkache, Sandor Mittleman

Charlotte Livingston

Saturday, July 13, 2024---- 7 Tamuz 5784

Anna Waldman, Iosef Elkin, Tillye Greenberg

Jacob Kimchi, Cheryl Koval

Sunday, July 14, 2024----8 Tamuz 5784

Michele Rudnick, Louis Moskowitz, Selma Lurie, Michael Zachar

Monday, July 15, 2024---- 9 Tamuz 5784

Sophie Friedgood, Howard Ufberg, Henry Korn, Howard Berman

Tuesday, July 16, 2024---- 10 Tamuz 5784

Benjamin Bravman, Lenard Cohen, Liilian Poplin, Lena Cohen

Marnie Savitz, Stephen Greenberg

Peggy Reinstein, Ronald Rosenthal

Wednesday, July 17, 2024----11 Tamuz 5784

Isaac Baicker, Harold Landau, Betty Frier, Honnie Duncan, Joel Levey Rivkah Scwarzblatt, Saul Mendelssohn, Pearl Moss

Thursday, July 18, 2024----12 Tamuz 5784

Esther Greenbaum, Norma Greenberg, Joseph Schoenholtz

Jacob Crystal

Friday, July 19, 2024----13 Tamuz 5784

Louis Shaffer, Esther Kaufer, Lazarus Rothstein

~May their Memories Serve as ae Blessing~

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