From The Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat, January 22, 2021/ 9 Shevat 5781
Torah: Bo(Exodus 10:1-13:16) Haftarah: (Jeremiah 46:13-28)
Tu B’Shevat the Kabbalist celebration of the Trees is on the 15 of Shevat, which will be on Thursday, January 28. Celebrate by eating 15 different fruit and nuts that grow on trees. The blessing will start Baruch … Borei pri HaEtz! Blessed are You Our G-d, king of the universe that grows fruit from the trees!
The Torah parsha continues with Moses and Aaron pleading with Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. Pharaoh continues to refuse, and the Egyptians are punished with the last three of the Ten Plagues – locusts, darkness, and the death of their firstborn.
Pharaoh lets the Israelites go. The Israelites proclaim that each year, on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, a festival lasting seven days will be observed to recall their freedom from Egyptian bondage. *Jews living in the diaspora observe for eight days. Matzah will be eaten for seven days. * Eight days for Jews outside Israel.
There are various laws and minhagim (customs) about Passover. Some are the removal of leaven and the how to’s of observance for Passover. The Sanctification of the first born, telling your child the story of Exodus from Egypt and Phylacteries/Tefillin. Tefillin also reminds one of the Exodus story, holidays and Shabbat and the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people.
The Haftarah has the connection with the Torah portion because both are about Egypt, a land which could not be depended on either in Moses’ time or in Jeremiah’s.
Last Shabbat Haftarah was from Ezekiel and this Sabbath we read one of Jeremiah’s last messages from his days in Jerusalem. He concludes with words of hope for Israel, reminding the people not to fear, because G-d will always be with them.
Each Shabbat we recite prayers for our nation, our congregation and the people of the world with compassion and love for all. We pray for G-d to hear our prayers whether in good times or challenging moments. Our last prayer of the Shabbat service is Adon Olam where we recite the words, “we have no fears for You our G-d are with us,” which reminds us that He is always there for each of us.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder