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 CHALLAH, WINE,  CANDLES , READ A LITTLE, TALK A LITTLE AND SING

TO ACT OR NOT TO ACT BLOG HOME WHY ABOUT US WHO FOR CONTACT WHERE LINKS FOOD FOR SHABBOS SHARING WHAT WE DO EACH SHABBOS SHABBOS LIGHT WEEKLY CONTENT SONGS - THE MUSIC
 

June 4

Short version

 

Challah dips wine drinks candles

 

SINGING

 

How men deal with sexual jealousy

If a man suspected his wife of adultery and became jealous (justifiably or not) he had to bring his wife to the priest for testing and make an offering. This test involved the priest putting water into a container, adding dust from the floor of the tabernacle, and asking the woman to drink the mixture. If guilty, her stomach would distend and her thigh would become compressed. If guilty, the woman would become a social pariah. If innocent, she would be free to bear children. 

 

Commentary

Sigmund Albert Spinoza talks to Methusaleh Solomon

 

SAS: What really upsets me in this Parsha, and it will upset countless women too, is the rule that any suspicious man could accuse his wife of adultery and haul her in for a strange and highly unscientific examination.

MS: Strange to you, not to us. 

SAS: Strange to anyone with a shred of discernment. How can it be fair that a man, even one in a paranoid delusion, can subject his wife to a test because he suspects his wife of adultery, whether justified or not?

MS: Don’t exaggerate now! Your rhetorical outrages are irritating. If you wish to talk to me, base your comments on specific points.   

SAS: Very well! What about men being subjected to a similar test, if their wives suspect them? Women are clearly viewed as chattels in their own homes. It is ludicrous that husbands are empowered to make serious accusations against their wives in this way while their wives have no such right!

MS: You miss the essential point. A man does own his wife – he has responsibility to feed her, clothe her and take care of her. If he suspects that she is not being faithful to him, he is entitled to punish or get rid of her.

 

SINGING

 

Post-War Reparation for Israel: Part 1 

 

In September 1945, Chaim Weizmann submitted a document to the major Allied governments on behalf of the Zionist Jewish Agency. The document demanded reparation from Germany for the Jewish people. Pressure was brought to bear on the new West German government to comply with this demand. 

In March 1952, negotiations began that led to the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany. Different groups in Israel responded differently to the push for reparations. The coalition government, led by David Ben-Gurion, said reparations were necessary to repay victims of the Holocaust. But opposition came from both right and left-wing forces. Mapam, on the left, opposed reparation payments on the grounds that this would allow German forces to get a foothold in Israeli society and the promised amounts would not be paid. 

 

Menachem Begin, on the right, led public protests against the acceptance of reparation money under banners that read, “Our honour shall not be sold for money. Our blood shall not be atoned by goods. We shall wipe out the disgrace.” 

SINGING

 

Here are tonight’s sayings:

 

·        Catholics believe life begins at conception. Atheists believe life begins at birth. Jews believe life begins when the children leave home and the dog dies.

·        He who deceives me lets shame fall upon him; if he deceives me twice, let shame fall on me.

·        The Jews are the living embodiment of the minority, the constant reminder of what duties societies owe their minorities, whoever they might be.
(Abba Eban)

·        If God lived on earth, people would break his windows. (Jewish proverb)

·        Why do Jewish men die before their wives? They want to. (Henny Youngman)

 

SINGING

 

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) 

Awarded both the Nobel Prize for Literature and the French Legion d’honneur, Harold Pinter was the foremost playwright of his generation as well as an outstanding screenwriter, poet, actor, stage director and political activist. Pinter was born in Hackney, London, to lower-middle-class Jewish parents.

How men deal with sexual jealousy  

 

SINGING

 

 

LONG VERSION

 

a.k.a Parashat Nasso  (Numbers 4:21 – 7:89) 

 

God told Moses to take a census of the sons of Gershon from 30 years to 50 years old. He then specified their duties, which were to carry the coverings, curtains, screens, ropes and other equipment of the Mishkan. The sons of Merari had to be numbered too, and their task was to carry the tabernacle’s frames, bars, pillars, bases and other accessories.  

God told Moses that those with leprosy, discharges and other impurities had to be sent outside the camp. Everyone who committed a sin had to confess the sin and make restitution.   

If a man suspected his wife of adultery and became jealous (justifiably or not) he had to bring his wife to the priest for testing and make an offering. This test involved the priest putting water into a container, adding dust from the floor of the tabernacle, and asking the woman to drink the mixture. If guilty, her stomach would distend and her thigh would become compressed. If guilty, the woman would become a social pariah. If innocent, she would be free to bear children. 

God also explained to Moses the nature of a Nazarite vow. A person who chose to become a Nazarite would cut himself off from normal pursuits, not drink any wine or grape juice and would not cut his hair. The Nazarite could not go near a corpse, not even that of a member of his own family. When ready to re-enter normal life, the Nazarite had to bring three kinds of offerings including a sin offering. 

God instructed Moses to tell Aaron how the blessing upon the people of Israel should be expressed. It should be said thus: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” 

On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had consecrated the altar, the leaders of the tribes brought offerings to God on separate days. These offerings comprised covered wagons and livestock and gold and silver dishes and bowls. 

 

Commentary on the 34th parsha (portion) of the Torah. The Torah consists of the five books of Moses, the first part of the Old Testament. 

 

To get to grips with this parsha, our Supermaven, Sigmund Albert Spinoza, interviews Methuselah Solomon (an Ancient Elder). Supermaven is a modern philosopher who is trying to understand Judaism and how we got where we are.

 

SAS: Hmmm. Bit of a mix of good stuff and bad stuff, eh Methuselah? Surely this doesn’t all belong together. There’s a bit of census taking, a bit of public health care, diagnosis by mumbo-jumbo, instructions about the nature of asceticism, exiling without trial, and then one of the greatest blessings ever. It’s a mish-mash and some of it is seriously disturbing.

MS: As usual, you miss most of the important issues and focus on things out of their social context.

SAS: You think counting those who have to carry the Mishkan is important? Come off it, Methuselah. It’s obsessive-compulsive anal nonsense to be concerned with the exact number of furniture removalists required. You aren’t making a good case for its equivalent importance to the grand scheme of our love for God and his supposed love for us.

MS: Attention to detail is part of the way we show our love and serve God, Methuselah. These things are holy and important because they show how much and how devoutly we love God.

SAS: Really? And the exiling of the lepers? That’s a good way to treat our fellow Jews then? “Sorry, Sir, your son is to be driven from the protection of the people.” Discharge, eh? Wonder where he got it?

MS: You are really being sarcastic and snide today, Sigmund. What’s wrong with you? Bit of identification with those outside the camp? Note, the parsha doesn’t say they were to be driven away, simply kept separate so that they didn’t infect others. That is good public health policy, I would say.

SAS: I wonder what these people’s mental health was like once they’d been turned into pariahs. But let’s leave that matter because I’ve a more important issue to raise. What really upsets me in this Parsha, and it will upset countless women too, is the rule that any suspicious man could accuse his wife of adultery and haul her in for a strange and highly unscientific examination.

MS: Strange to you, not to us. 

SAS: Strange to anyone with a shred of discernment. How can it be fair that a man, even one in a paranoid delusion, can subject his wife to a test because he suspects his wife of adultery, whether justified or not?

MS: Don’t exaggerate now! Your rhetorical outrages are irritating. If you wish to talk to me, base your comments on specific points.   

SAS: Very well! What about men being subjected to a similar test, if their wives suspect them? Women are clearly viewed as chattels in their own homes. It is ludicrous that husbands are empowered to make serious accusations against their wives in this way while their wives have no such right!

MS: You miss the essential point. A man does own his wife – he has responsibility to feed her, clothe her and take care of her. If he suspects that she is not being faithful to him, he is entitled to punish or get rid of her.

SAS: Still, the point is that any suspicious husband should speak to his wife first and ask for the truth before rushing off to get her tested in a degrading and ridiculous way. What about sincere and open communication? Why start an embarrassing witch-hunt? What about a more rational method of deduction? Drinking a mixture made of water and dust would distend anyone’s stomach and compress their thigh. And of course, that’s the right diagnostic for adultery, isn’t it?

MS: Your sarcasm is extremely annoying. It is, of course, possible that the priest was, at the same time, considering the facts, and being guided by those. In any event, the test was not purely physical; it was created to bring forth an emotional reaction from the accused and often did – a guilty confession in several instances! Also bear in mind, men don’t simply accuse their wives of adultery – they generally have some justification, otherwise why would they want to subject their wives and themselves to this indignity?

SAS: Oh, I can think of a number of reasons why husbands would want to humiliate their wives and keep them terrified. Mostly, it’s a question of power and manipulation! I wish you could hear yourself, Methuselah. These practices are totally unjustifiable. They are like the witchcraft trials of the Middle Ages. Do you recommend we continue to practise them today?

MS: I think you need to understand that the parsha stands also as a document of the history of this tribe who needed the discipline and solidarity of a strict code to keep them together as they wandered in the desert. Bear this in mind. Jews are still around today. Something has kept them together.

SAS: Let me say that I abhor this practice. Do you regard women as somehow less than men? This kind of activity violates every known principle of natural justice.

MS: There is nothing less natural among men than justice! That is why God gave us the commandments in the first place! If justice were natural, he needn’t have bothered!

SAS: My friend, you are a prime example of a spin-doctor! Of course there is natural justice – the concept refers to the notion of fairness.  We don’t need God to tell us when someone has been treated wrongly when the injustice is self-evident.

MS: Nothing is self-evident. God alone is able to determine what is just and what is unjust.

SAS: Well, we’ll agree to disagree there. Now what about Nazarites? What is all that about? Why did they need to avoid haircuts, wine and corpses? What was their special talent or gift? What made them so lucky?

MS: Nothing. If you bothered to read God’s word you would know that one became a Nazarite by taking a vow.  Once you took the vow, you were obliged to keep it for a specified time. Some, however, became lifelong Nazarites. These holy men and women reminded the people that they were set apart from the pagans surrounding them.

SAS: A small society of holy folk with long hair wandering around? It’s absurdly amusing, but I can see why you elders encouraged it. It enhanced the mystique of your faith and no doubt added to the mystical appeal of Judaism. You let this sect thrive outside of the normal hierarchy of faith to give Judaism an unusual and intriguing edge. Those long-haired holy men must have impressed the people greatly and brought an extra dimension to the notion of holiness and divine separateness. Apart from that, it’s great theatre!

MS: Your cynicism both appals and offends me! You have no sense of the holy whatsoever!         

SAS: That’s not fair! You know, Methuselah, when I hear a blessing like this one, “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace,” which in its love and simplicity has lasted for thousands of years, I get a warm feeling. Why, though, must I accept all this other superstitious mumbo jumbo, just to feel (even though it’s just a phantasm anyway) that someone is taking care of me and watching over me?

MS: There may be hope for you yet, if you could only let yourself be persuaded of the value of God’s words and our tradition. 

 

History 

 

The Parsha we have just read comes from the five books of Moses, the Torah. The dialogues between Sigmund Albert Spinoza and Methuselah Solomon are about the meaning of the Parsha.

 

What we know about Jewish History, however, is based in fact, and on historical records. 

 

If you’d like to know more about the real history of our extended Jewish family, read on.

 

Post-War Reparation for Israel: Part 1 

 

In September 1945, Chaim Weizmann submitted a document to the major Allied governments on behalf of the Zionist Jewish Agency. The document demanded reparation from Germany for the Jewish people. Pressure was brought to bear on the new West German government to comply with this demand. 

 

Six years later, in 1951, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer told his parliament that “In our name, unspeakable crimes have been committed and they demand restitution, both moral and material, for the persons and properties of the Jews who have been so seriously harmed ... The Federal Government is prepared, jointly with representatives of Jewry and the State of Israel ... to bring about a solution of the material indemnity problem, thus easing the way to the spiritual settlement of infinite suffering.”

 

A month after Adenauer’s speech, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, convened a meeting of 23 Jewish groups in New York. The body that emerged from this meeting became the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. 

 

This “Claims Conference” became an important negotiating power with the West German government for a program of indemnification for material damages. 

 

Israeli authorities based their claims on the fact that Israel had resettled 500,000 Holocaust survivors at significant cost per person. Further, it was pointed out that huge amounts of Jewish property had been stolen by the Nazis. It became evident that a reparation sum would need to run into billions. 

 

In March 1952, negotiations began that led to the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany. Different groups in Israel responded differently to the push for reparations. The coalition government, led by David Ben-Gurion, said reparations were necessary to repay victims of the Holocaust. But opposition came from both right and left-wing forces. Mapam, on the left, opposed reparation payments on the grounds that this would allow German forces to get a foothold in Israeli society and the promised amounts would not be paid. 

 

Menachem Begin, on the right, led public protests against the acceptance of reparation money under banners that read, “Our honour shall not be sold for money. Our blood shall not be atoned by goods. We shall wipe out the disgrace.” 

 

Here follows a discussion on this historical segment by Dad, Chaya and Ben. 

 

BEN: Well, I feel Menachem Begin was right. You can’t sell honour for money. It was absurd for Israel to accept money from the Germans, as though the lives of six million could be compensated for!

DAD: Nobody said they thought the money somehow bought freedom from guilt. Those who drew up the documents that formed the basis of claims against the West Germany certainly didn’t think like that. Rather, this was a claim with the practical aim of ensuring that survivors and their families could re-establish their lives in some small measure.

CHAYA: I see Ben’s point, though – there is no parity between a cash sum and the horrendous cost to our people in terms of lives lost, terror caused, the unspeakable violations of human rights and the wholesale thieving that took place. They pay some money, and then the ledger is mysteriously balanced.

BEN: Well said, Sis!

DAD: Given the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing, could reimburse the Jewish people for what happened, should Israel not at last have taken the money to make the fledgling state viable and give the victims some small recompense for their pain? I say “Yes”. Further, if Israel hadn’t accepted the money, the West Germans would have been spared a financial burden they deserved to pay. 

BEN: And which they clearly could afford!

DAD: Yes, but it was a significant amount, and the repayment wasn’t just about money. They brought expertise and equipment to Israel that made an appreciable difference to the economy.

CHAYA: I suppose if we put our emotional response on hold, we’d appreciate that the reparation gave the West Germans a chance to reflect on their actions, experience collective guilt, and work to make things different.

BEN: Whatever pangs of guilt they felt pale absolutely into insignificance compared with what their country did to their victims. Anyway, there’s a too easy equation of millions of European Jews with the national state of Israel. These people were never citizens or residents of Israel. And their deaths can never be recompensed.

DAD: True, Ben, but this isn’t a perfect world in which God comes down and squares off the ledger Chaya spoke about. So, if you are Israel, you take the money, and you slowly build a relationship of arms-length friendship that makes future threats from Germany unlikely.

CHAYA: I suppose we have to admit that this has worked in some ways. It seems as though most Germans express a very sincere regret concerning the Holocaust, and that far from creating a sense of antagonism and bitterness, the reparation program has forged strong ties and fostered mutual respect between Israel and West Germany, and now the united Germany. 

DAD: That’s an important point to stress, Chaya. Reparation wasn’t just about recompensing the Jews and punishing Germans. It enabled West Germany to make a serious contribution to Israel’s development and to forge a completely different relationship with world Jewry.

BEN: I still think there is something very wrong with this whole reparation thing. You can argue this any way you like, Dad, but it still comes down to a money-for-lives transaction, and that is despicable.

DAD: My view is more pragmatic and less idealistic. Once a terrible evil has been committed, you rebuild with whatever resources you can. You don’t think of the money from the Germans as recompense – you take it as a contribution towards the future, and you use it wisely to make sure that future works. 

 

Sayings 

 

Every Shabbat we read five short sayings that express, with typically Jewish wit and humour, insightful reflections on this life of ours.

 

Here are tonight’s sayings:

 

·        Catholics believe life begins at conception. Atheists believe life begins at birth. Jews believe life begins when the children leave home and the dog dies.

·        He who deceives me lets shame fall upon him; if he deceives me twice, let shame fall on me.

·        The Jews are the living embodiment of the minority, the constant reminder of what duties societies owe their minorities, whoever they might be.
(Abba Eban)

·        If God lived on earth, people would break his windows. (Jewish proverb)

·        Why do Jewish men die before their wives? They want to. (Henny Youngman)

 

Celebration of Great Lives 

 

Every Friday night we celebrate the achievements of our Jewish family in contributing to changing the world for the better and having an extraordinary impact on those around them.

 

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) 

Awarded both the Nobel Prize for Literature and the French Legion d’honneur, Harold Pinter was the foremost playwright of his generation as well as an outstanding screenwriter, poet, actor, stage director and political activist. Pinter was born in Hackney, London, to lower-middle-class Jewish parents. He made his reputation with plays such as The Caretaker, The Homecoming, Betrayal, The Birthday Party and The Room. His screenplays included The Go-Between and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The word “Pinteresque” has entered the language as a description of an absurd and disquieting atmosphere in a mise-en-scene. In his later years Pinter became increasingly vocal as a pacifist and critic of America and Britain’s invasion of Iraq. 

 

Song 

 

We will now sing a traditional song to conclude our Shabbat celebration. You have a copy of the words, so please join in as we sing.

 

The song is sung

 

Farewell and an Invitation

 

Thank you for coming together to share our Shabbat. May you go out into the new week with renewed strength, confidence and happiness.

 

We now cordially invite you to join us for some coffee and cake.

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO SING THE SONGS
ADON OLAM WORDS
Adon Olam David Solid Gould & The Temple Rockers
ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS
ALLE BRUDER SONG
ALLE BRIDER SONG
AL KOL ELEH WORDS
AL KOL ELEH
BASHANA words
BASHANA SONG
BEI MIR BIST DU SHEYN
BEI MIR BIST DU SCHEYN SONG
BMBDS song
CHIRIBIM WORDS
CHIRIBIM Song
DAYENU WORDS
DAYENU SONG ENGLISH
DAYENU SONG
DONNA DONNA
DONNA DONNA SONG
HALLELUYA
HALELUJA KARAOKE
HATIKVA
HATIKVA SONG
HATIKVA SONG
DAYENU
HATIKVA WORDS
HATIKVA SONG 1
HAVA NAGILA WORDS
HAVA NAGILA SONG
HAVA NAGILA KARAOKE
HAVEINU SHALOM ALEICHEM
HEVENU SHALOM ALEICHEM WORDS
HEVENU SHALOM ALECHEM SONG
HINEH MA TOV WORDS
JERUSALEM THE GOLD WORDS
JERUSALEM THE GOLD KARAOKE IVRIT
JERUSALEM THE GOLD SONG
JERUSALEM THE GOLD JARAOKE
MAYIM MAYIM WORDS
MAYIM MAYIM DANCE
OIF'N PRIPITSCHOK song
OSE SHALOM
OSE SHALOM SONG
PAPI ROS'N
PAPIROS'N SONG
PARTISAN SONG 1
PARTISAN SONG
PARTISAN SONG MUSIC
RABBI ELIMELEKH
RABBI ELIMELEKH SONG
AS DER REBE SINGT
AS DER REBBE SINGT LEONARD COHEN
AS DER REBBE SINGT SONG
RAISINS WITH ALMONDS WORDS
SIMANTOV U MAZELTOV WORDS
SIMAN TOV MUSIC
MAZELTOV CLARINET
TUMBALALAIKA WORDS
TUMBALALAIKA MUSIC
TUMBALALAIKA MUSIC
TZENA TZENA
TZENA TZENA
TZENA TZENA 4
TZENA TZENA The Weavers
TZENA TZENA WORDS
ALLE BRIDER KLEZMATICS
ALLE BRIDER KLEZMATICS
HATIKVA STREISAND
HATIKVA STREISAND
BIM BAM SHABBAT SHALOM FOR KIDS
BIM BAM SHABBAT SHALOM FOR KIDS
YO EN ESTANDO - SEPHARDIC
ELIYAHU SEPHARDIC
SEPHARDIC SONG
SEPHARDIC SONG 3
Sholem Aleichem Susan Allen
Shalom Aleichem Susan Allen
OTHER VERSIONS OF SONGS
DUVID CROCKET WORDS
DUVID CROCKET MICKEY KATZ
MODERN PASSOVER SONGS
This will help you find yourself]