Torah: Vayetze(Genesis 28:10-32:3) Haftarah:(Hosea 12:13-14:10)
Have A Happy Thanksgiving
The Torah Portion.
Yirah: the awe of G-d… When Jacob awakens from his heavenly dream, his first words are: “Surely G-d is in this place, and I did not know it” (Genesis 28:16). Our rabbis tell us that no vision in life will ever come to successful fruition unless we can say: “Surely G-d is in this place”(panim yafot). Jacob had a spiritual experience and felt the Presences of G-d. Some say that the ladder in Jacob’s dream, called in Hebrew a sulam, was a symbol of Sinai. In gematria, the word sulam and Sinai both have the same numerical value, 130.
A midrash (story based on the Torah parsha)… The angels were going up the ladder to heaven and then the angels were coming down the ladder from the shamayim (heavens). As one views angels they are from the heavens. Even from the beginning angels existed with G-d. So who are the angels? The angels were the weekly one that watched over Jacob, and they were leaving him. The angels coming down to Jacob were the Shabbat angels. Shalom Aleichem prayer. We recite this prayer on Shabbat.
This will also be an unusual and not so unusual Hanukkah. The holiday of Hanukkah was a war remembrance of Judaism survival over the Hellenisitic Greek ways. It is considered a minor holiday. Why all the lights for the “Festival of Lights”? There was no moon, and the idea was like a bolt of lightning to imagine that a small group of Jewish warriors battling and winning against such a great army was hard to imagine.
The Torah words this Shabbat, “Truly G-d is in this place and I, I did not know.” (Genesis 28:16) holds great meaning for Jews during this China pandemic. That even though there are challenges of surviving and living with such a dire threat to our health and our ways of living, if our ancestors managed such challenges, together so can we!
The First night of Hanukkah, 25th of Kislev/Thursday night, December 10.
The Second night will be Shabbat, and we will light our Hanukkah candles first, and then kindle Shabbat candles. We will have our Zoom service and finish with the Kiddush and HaMotzi. Then we can all eat our Sabbath meal.
The Third is will be on Saturday. We have to end Shabbat by reciting Havdalah, and then we light the Hanukkiah with the candles.
The Fourth Day of Hanukkah will not begin until sundown, however Beit Chaverim congregation will have a Hanukkah Zimriyah (singing songs for Hanukkah). If you are planning on bringing any food, please wrap it for health safety. It is at Fire Lake by the picnic tables where we held Tashlich. Truly this IS G-d’s PLACE, and we ARE HIS PEOPLE!
Some Hanukkah information and prayers.
The candles are arranged in the Hanukkiah (menorah for Hanukkah) right to left.
The Shamash(helper) candle is kindled and lights the NEWEST candle first…
Left to right is the direction of kindling. All candles are level except for the Shamash which is higher or separated from the other eight candles.
The first night three prayers are recited.
The first two are recited each night.
The blessing for the candles.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu, l’hadlich ner shel CHanukah.
*Instead of ending with; Ner Shel Shabbat ends with Ner Shel Hanukkah. On Shabbat(Friday night) recite the ending Ner Shel Shabbat V’CHanukkah, because Shabbat is every week and the holiday is once a year.
The second prayer recited is …
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, shw’asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim hahem baz’man hazeh.
We praise You, Adonai our G-d, Ruler of the Universe (world), who made miracles for our ancestors in those days, in this season.
The third prayer is the Shehecheyanu (first time). Recite only on the first night!
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, Shehecheyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higianu, lazman hazeh.
We praise You, Adonai our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, who has kept us alive and well so that we can celebrate this special time.
Next week I will add another lesson for Hanukkah.
CH = Chet sound H = Hay sound and one would add a dot under the H in English to note the Chet hard sound.
The spelling of Hanukkah has many different ways in English, however the Hebrew is always the same Chet, nun, kof, hay.
May those that are ill have a Refuah Shleymah/ A Speedy Recovery. I recite Misherberot for everyone.