This week's services:     Friday evening @ 6:30PM  -  Saturday morning @ 9:30AM

Friday night services will be held at the home of the Rabbi.  The address is 1506 Victoria Avenue.  Enter via the door nearest the driveway.

This week's parsha

Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the website.  We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given.  For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website.  If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the website.

Healthy Dynamic

Our lives as individuals often display two quite different features.  One is dynamism, movement, progress, discovery and change.  The second feature, seemingly the opposite, yet also very important, is the attempt to strengthen one's position, to consolidate, to attempt to be secure and firm, immoveable.  The combination of these two contrasting qualities creates a healthy dynamic.  One moves forward and grows - but not at the expense of what one has already gained.  There is the thrust towards expansion and also a concern for consolidation.

These two qualities are expressed by the names of the double Torah portion which is read this Shabbat, the Shabbat before the New Year, Rosh Hashanah.  The first Torah portion is called Nitzavim, which means in Hebrew "standing firm."  In its opening words, Moses tells the Jewish people "you are all standing firm here today."  The second Torah portion is called Vayelech, which means "he went," referring to Moses:  "Moses went and said these words to the Jewish people."

Read more: Healthy Dynamic

The Bigger Picture

This week's Torah reading, Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), discusses the concept of the first fruits offering, Bikkurim.  The Torah explains the commandment to bring an offering of the "first fruits" which the land yielded, upon entering and settling in the Land of Israel.

There are two opinions in the teachings of our Sages concerning this commandment.  The Midrash Sifri maintains that every individual was required to bring the first fruits offering as soon as he entered the Land of Israel and his land began to yield fruit.

Read more: The Bigger Picture

Winning the War

When you go out to war on your enemies, the L-rd your G-d shall deliver them into your hands, and you shall capture from them captives (Deuteronomy 21:10)

According to the Torah, a person has two inclinations -- the "good inclination" (yetzer tov) and the "evil inclination" (yetzer ha-ra).  The evil inclination is out to trap us and lead us into inappropriate behavior.  The good inclination tries to keep us on the straight and narrow and to help us prevail over the evil inclination.  The choice is ours; it is hard work, though, to resist the evil inclination!

This week's parshah begins by speaking about "when you go to war on your enemy."  The chassidic masters explain that on a deeper level, "your enemy" refers to the evil inclination, which we are constantly battling each and every day.  The Torah gives us hope -- the verse continues, "and G-d will deliver him into your hand...  and you will take captives..."

The Talmud states that "one who comes to purify himself...  is helped."  When we are sincere in our desire to do the right thing, we receive a boost from Above to help us overpower the evil inclination and the other temptations around us.  Hence when we face the challenge head-on, the evil inclination is not only "delivered into your hand" but it becomes "captive," meaning that it is subjugated and transformed into good.

According to Chassidic philosophy, this is the continuing daily process of transforming ourselves and the world around us, of "refining" everything in Creation, using it for the good and to serve a higher purpose.

In our thoughts


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Kiddush Club

Date: Feb 16 '19
Sponsor: Regina Novak
In honour of my husband Morris Novak (AH) yahrzeit

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