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Beit Hashofar is pleased to announce the opening of our new Lichtenstein Guest House and Beit Midrash. This new facility is conveniently located steps away from the synagogue and offers the comforts of home as well as an informal study space. Our Guest House is an optimal base for seeing the Northwest region or just to stay overnight on Shabbat while residing in a kosher environment.
Most of us have seen pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, touted as a marvelous architectural wonder for many ages. But I can't help but snicker when I see it. Yes, indeed it has interesting architectural features and form. But why give it such a heightened status when all of us can see that it is leaning. I know, the name says it all. But I know I would be far more impressed if it didn't lean. To me, it is a glaring reminder that the engineers did not survey the ground and become familiar with the territory, or seek to utilize their engineering skills to erect a structure that would represent their talents. Not only is it an accident waiting to happen, but it has been the source of a great amount of effort and money to right the structure and keep the public safe. This glorification of a botched attempt can be lethal not only in the physical realm but in the spiritual realm. If we deceive ourselves in the ways of keeping Torah, we risk building in vain and put others in jeopardy. In this week's parasha, we are given the guarantee that if we follow in the ways of our Creator, the Divine Engineer, then that which we will build will be upright and everlasting and blessings of the land and fruitfulness will be with us.
As a child, I fondly remember flipping through the channels looking for some of my favorite shows. Occasionally, the music for one particular show would stream onto the television as the ever popular cartoon train moved across the screen - yes, I mean Soul Train. I would pause for a moment and watch the train go by and then continue my search. I can still hear the music in my head to this day. What was unique about this show is that for many, it was a window into African-American culture that for some might otherwise never have been experienced. The latest fashion and dance trends were discussed, and new or popular artists donned the set to sing the latest hits. During the 70's and 80's, it was a cultural and spiritual tutor for many.
This week the theme of hiddeness has been ever before us as we have read the book of Esther, a book with no mention of G-d's name. As we recount how our people nearly became subject to a plan of mass genocide, it would behoove us to peer behind the curtain of history and see the thread of salvation that has been ever present throughout time. Along this thread have been individuals, who by no other reason except divine purpose and not coincidence, have been set before our people to be raised up during a time of need.
When the Baal Shem Tov was young, he lived in the mountains of southern Russia. From time to time he would walk to the top of a mountain, and lose himself in thought. Lost to the world, lost to himself, but found to G-d.Deep in this lostness and this foundness, he once began to walk where there was no ground to walk on. As he put his foot down, he was stepping into an abyss. But before he could hurtle downward, a nearby mountain moved, and closed the gap. The Baal Shem, all unknowing, continued on firm ground: lost to the world, lost to himself, but found to G-d. - - Chassidic tale
Stonewashing is a process in the textile industry that is used to give a new denim cloth garment a worn-out appearance. This process also helps to increase the softness and flexibility of otherwise stiff and rigid fabrics such as denim. This process entails what the name implies: washing the denim with large stones to roughen up and soften the cloth. As stones represent an obstacle or hardship, the denim is likened to B'nei Yisrael's fabric of faith. The challenges that Hashem places before B'nei Yisrael as they travel through the wilderness are meant to tenderize and increase their faith. Moshe, Mashiach Yeshua and the Baal Shem Tov all prove to us that through this stonewashing comes a small seed of faith that can rise above the evil, chaos and doubt that prevail in our midst. Not only can we move mountains, but we can be a conduit of faith and possibility to those around us, even in the most impossible of circumstances.
An all women's group dedicated to learning, bonding, and growing in Torah and in Jewish life. Come be a part and participate in meaningful discussions, tzedakah and mitzvah opportunities, and spiritual g...