Candle lighting time is 8:33
Last Shabbos we struggled to get a minyan. We were able to read Torah, but one person had to leave, our minyan was gone, and we were unable to recite Kaddish. Summer vacation means that some regulars may be out of town, so please help us make minyan and join us at 9:30 Saturday morning.
And so, this week we begin the reading of the book of Deuteronomy. The Children of Israel are poised to pass into the promised land and Moses, knowing he will not be accompanying them, begins his farewell speech to his people in which he reviews the history of the 40 years of wandering in the desert, repeats the reading of the Torah, and rebukes the people for their many mistakes that we have recounted over the past weeks.
This week’s parshah is Devarin, which specifically deals with the appointment of the judges, the journey through the desert, the sending of the spies, and several of the wars that were fought along the way to the Holy Land. But it is the very end of the parshah that most inspires me. Throughout the Exodus from Egypt and the journey through the wilderness, Hashem was always in the lead, providing for the Israelites and helping them overcome any obstacles in their paths even though the people often doubted and complained. Now, at the end of the parshah, Moses recounts his charge to Joshua, “Thine eyes have seen all that the Lord your God hath done to these two kings; so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou goest over. Ye shall not fear them; for the LORD your God, He is that fighteth for you.”
And so we should remember in our own lives that our faith will be rewarded. That in the times of our greatest need we are never alone. For God is there to lead us just as he led the Children of Israel to their Promised Land, and when we need Him, the Lord will be there to fight for us to. We may not always see it; we may not always understand it; but we can rest assured that the Lord our God, is with us and is fighting for us.
On Monday evening we begin the observance of Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av. Tisha B’Av sadly commemorates the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and, some 655 years later, the Second Temple as well. And, if that is not enough, it is also the anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain during the Inquisition in 1492.
The Western Wall of the First Temple, the Kotel, is one of the most revered sites in Judaism and is a place that Jews who travel to the Holy Land visit to pray and place notes in the cracks in the wall. How sad it is that in recent weeks the Kotel has been the subject of numerous news stories because of protests and disputes amongst Jews over where women may or may not pray, or how they may or may not dress, at the Wall.
Although we are not having Tisha B’Av services at our Shul, there will be a combined Conservative Jewish Community Wide Program at Tree of Life or L’Simcha, 5898 Wilkins Ave., in Squirrel Hill. The program is sponsored by Beth El, Tree of Life or L’Simcah, Adat Shalom, Beth Shalom, Dor Hadash, and New Light Congregations beginning with a learning session at 7:15 pm Monday, followed by Mincha at 8:30, Ma’ariv at 8:45 and Eicha at 9:00. The learning session will be led by Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg of CMU’s History Department. She will speak on, “Jewish National Resilience: Eliezer Ben Yehuda and the Rebirth of the Hebrew Language.”
Chabad of the South Hills will also be holding services Monday evening beginning at 9 pm.
“Jewish National Resilience: