I love Shabbat B’shallach, also known as Shabbat Shirah (Shabbat of Song) and Shabbat of the birds – and yes, I will be bringing my little birds to decorate the Bimah! Who can better sing than the birds in our midst?More
Rabbi Lynn Greenhough
About Rabbi Lynn Greenhough
Posts by Rabbi Lynn Greenhough:
This coming Shabbat – Shabbat Bo – we will welcome Yardenne Katz into our kehilla officially – it will be her Bat Mitzvah. Bo – come – seems such an appropriate parashah for such a ceremony. Just as God begins the process of leading us to freedom, to redemption, so too will this daughter of covenant find her way, God willing, to come into and build her potential for leadership into our collective body.More
With Tu B’Shevat coming up we look forward to our Spring festivals, Purim, Pesach and Shavuot not far behind. Special readings, special customs and, of course, special foods accompany each celebration. I’m looking forward to that taste of dried fruits, that first hamantaschen, that sharp bite of a Hillel sandwich. Our taste buds are our storehouses of memories.More
We had a wonderful Shabbat morning service last week – and welcomed many of our students back from holidays and arduous work schedules. Thank you to our volunteers who help with setting up, and helping in the kitchen – you are very much welcomed and appreciated.
We are now in the Book of Shemot. The Book of Names, but more commonly known as the Book of Exodus; that book that documents the people Israel leaving Mitzrayim, Egypt, and beginning that long journey towards the land of Israel. This book is the origin of that infamous question: Are we there yet?More
Vayechi – Jacob lived, we read these words as Jacob prepares for his death. Similarly, we read earlier in Bereshit, Chaye Sarah, the life of Sarah, and we then immediately read of her death. Our cemeteries are often called a Beit Chayim – a House of Life. What is going on here? More
This week we read Vayigash… and he approached. Yehudah is approaching Yosef, his long-lost brother, who is now unrecognizable, as he stands in the garments of governor of Egypt. The clothes can indeed make, and disguise, both the “man” and his intentions.
Over the course of Vayigash we read about the negotiations of the brothers and Yosef to ensure their family members will be fed. We read frequent references to the land the Israelites will inhabit – a gift from Pharaoh, the land of Goshen. Goshen will become a place of plenty after these years of famine. It will also be a place that is home, but not home. A displacement for years to come.More
This week – Miketz, Hannukah and a Simcha Bat – we are so blessed with joy this week.
As we light our candles this week I want to honour R. Lawrence Hoffman with a nod to an article I read last week. He wrote about the holiness of lighting Hannukah candles. I wanted to title this piece “the Uselessness of Holiness”, which of course could most readily be misinterpreted.
The lights and music of Hannukah approach – here is the link we played at our Kabbalat Shabbat service last Friday evening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7MXDlPg_LI
This week we are in Vayeshev – Jacob settled, dwelled, in the land of his ancestors. In the Biblical canon, the word לָשֶׁבֶת (lah-SHEH-vet) means primarily to settle down, though it can also mean, very literally, to sit down. Another word meaning to settle down permanently is לְהִשְׁתַּקֵּעַ(leh-heesh-tah-KEH-ah), of the root שׁ.ק.ע (sh.k.a) meaning sinking or setting. This word has the connotation of putting down roots somewhere. Sinking into the ground.
For example:הָעוֹלִים הַחֳדָשִׁים בָּאוּ עִם הַכַּוָּנָה לְהִשְׁתַּקֵּעַ.More
Mazal tov to Doug Marshall and Pat Dunphy on the birth of their grandson, Ari James – a very healthy 8.5 pounds.
This week, Vayishlach, Yaakov, now a patriarch with a large family, leaves his uncle Lavan– but anticipating a difficult reunion with his brother Esau, he must first cross the River Yabbock. In the dark of night, after all his planning, and strategizing to protect his family, Yaakov wrestles with a stranger – an angel, a man? – and at the end of this struggle he is given a new name, a name we carry forward to this day. Israel. Wrestle with God.
Our names in our tradition carry us forward with the names of our ancestors and the hope and purpose of our futures as we each wrestle ourselves into circumstances both blessed and challenging. May Ari, this little lion of God, bring his family the dignity, the fortitude and kindness of his grandparents and his parents.
How can we best help each other in these challenging economic times? Last week we read about Avraham negotiating the purchase of a burial cave so he could honour Sarah with an eternal burial site. But we also read about the small acts of kindness that led Eliezer to know that Rivka would be the one to restore Yitzhak’s heart to wholeness. This week in Toldot we read of famine in the land – a recurring theme in Torah. Hardship, famine drought are not new events, due to climate change, but have always caused peoples to move from their homelands in search of food, water, and their survival.More