THE GOOD SHABBOS COMMUNITY

ENJOYING YOUR JEWISH HERITAGE THROUGH FOOD, FACTS AND FUN - SHABBAT SHALOM

 

 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 11 Short version

 

 

Challah dips wine drinks candles

 

SINGING

God hates a whinger and a gossip  

 

In the meantime, Miriam and Aaron spoke ill of Moses because he had married a dark-skinned Ethiopian woman. And Aaron appealed to Moses, saying, “Please don’t hold this foolish offence against us, and please don’t let Miriam remain in this terrible state.” Moses then cried out to God to heal Miriam.

God replied: “If her father merely spat in her presence, she’d have to endure seven days of shame. So let her be kept outside the camp for seven days.” Miriam was therefore ostracised for a week, and only when she returned to camp did the people strike camp and set off again. The people left Hazeroth and pitched their tents in the wilderness of Paran.

SINGING

 

Commentary by Nethusaleh Solom and Sigmund Albert Spinoza

SAS: Thank God that I am an atheist? There’s only one thing I like about God’s behaviour in this Parsha. He turned Miriam’s racism against her. Turned her white in fact, since she seemed to have such a strong objection to Moses’s dark-skinned wife. Good for God!

MS: You show extreme levity in the face of serious matters like leprosy. Your lack of respect shows your shallowness of understanding.

SAS: If God can give her leprosy, he can take it away. It’s all a game in which he makes the rules.

MS: A game? There were no games being played here, my friend. Our people were in the middle of the desert with their very existence hanging by a thread – the thread of divine love and protection.  Anyone undermining Moses, undermining morale, or challenging the will of God was expressing nothing less than treason against the community as a whole, and treason, since it entails a deliberate attempt to bring about mass collapse of the community, should be punishable by death.

SAS: Hmmm – so Miriam can count herself lucky that her gossiping put-downs of Moses didn’t make her a target for a lightning bolt! Isn’t it strange, however, that Aaron – her gossip partner – wasn’t punished at all? I’m surprised God didn’t hand down two sets of Commandments – one for men and one for women!

MS:  Here we are – back on familiar terrain. You’re obsessed with undermining God’s order. Let’s leave things for a week. I need a break from you, starting right now.

SINGING

 

History

In terms of the agreement, West Germany would pay Israel 3-billion marks over a 14-year period while 450 million marks went to the World Jewish Congress. Payments were made to the State of Israel, the body representing victims with no surviving family. The money was invested in Israel’s infrastructure and represented a significant proportion of Israel’s income – as much as 87.5% in 1956. 

SINGING

 

Here are tonight’s sayings:

 

·        A car hits a Jewish man. The paramedic asks, “Are you comfortable?” The man says, “I make a good living.” (Jewish joke)

·        “I’m Jewish. I don’t work out. If God had wanted us to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.” (Joan Rivers)

·        One father can support ten children, but ten children don’t seem able to support one father.

·        If a fool says nothing, you can’t tell whether he’s a fool or a sage.

·        The Hebrews have done more to civilise men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilising the nations.
(John Adams)

SINGING

 

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.

 

Gershom Mendes Seixas (1746-1816) 

Gershom Seixas was the first native-born rabbi in the USA. Born in New York into a Portuguese-Jewish family, he became the rabbi of the Congregation Shearith Israel, in 1768. His congregation was made up of Jews of Spanish and Portuguese heritage. Outside of his rabbinical duties, he taught Hebrew, literature and law to the community. After stays in Stamford, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, Seixas returned to New York in 1784 where he established charities and helped save the Jewish cemetery in Chatham Square. He was the first US rabbi to give sermons in English, many of which were in support of the American Revolution. He helped raise funds to build synagogues in other cities and served as a trustee of Columbia College. He fathered 15 children with his first wife and 11 with his second.

 

SINGING

 

a.k.a. Parashat Beha’alotkha  (Numbers 8:1 – 12:16) 

 

After the Sanctification of the Mishkan, God told Moses that Aaron should set up the menorah (candelabra) to emit light in front of the lamp stand. The lamp stand was made of hammered gold according to God’s design. God told Moses to assemble the Levites and purify them by sprinkling water on them, shaving their bodies and washing their clothes.  A grain and sin offering had to be made before the Levites were assembled in front of all the people.

Once purified, the Levites had to begin their work under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. The Levites, God said, belonged entirely to Him. They were his priests. The Levites had to commence their duties at 25 years of age and retire at 50.

God spoke to Moses in the first month of the second year after the people of Israel had left Egypt. He said the people should celebrate Passover on the 14th day of the month. Some of the people were ritually unclean because of coming into contact with a dead body. God then stipulated the conditions under which people who were ritually unclean could celebrate Passover.

On the day the Mishkan was set up, a cloud looking like fire covered it. As long as this cloud remained over the Mishkan, the Israelites remained in camp. Whenever it lifted, they set out from camp.

God told Moses to make two trumpets of hammered silver to call the community together or for signalling a departure from camp. The priests were to blow the trumpets. Trumpets also had to sound before entering battle so that God would rally to the people’s side. Trumpets would also be sounded on festival days when offerings were made.

On the 20th day of the second month of the second year the cloud lifted and the Israelites set out until the cloud settled in the Desert of Paran. The tribes set out in preordained order and the Mishkan was already assembled when the Kohathites arrived with the holy objects for the Mishkan. In all, the people had walked three days from Sinai following the Ark of the Covenant. When the Ark was about to be moved, Moses would say, “Rise up, Lord, and may your enemies be scattered.” When the Ark was at rest, he said, “Return, Lord, to your people”.

Some of the people complained about their difficulties and God sent a fire to consume them. The fire also touched the outskirts of the camp, but ceased when Moses cried out to God. Some of the people complained that they were tired of eating manna and wanted meat and fish and vegetables. God became wrathful at these complaints, and Moses, upset because of God’s fury and by the complaints, asked God why he was punishing him with the task of leading the people. He asked that God put him to death rather than burden him with this ongoing task.

To help Moses, God told him to invite 70 elders to the Tent of Meeting to support him in dealing with the people. God instructed Moses to tell the people that He would give them meat – so much, indeed, that they’d be sick of it. This would be punishment for their complaints and faithlessness. Moses replied that there were 6000 men in the camp and the promise seemed rash. God responded that he would show Moses what he could do.

Then God sent a wind which drove quail from the sea toward the people. The quail were plentiful but even as the people started eating, God struck the people down with a severe plague. Many of those who had complained died there at Kibroth Hattaavah.

In the meantime, Miriam and Aaron spoke ill of Moses because he had married a dark-skinned Ethiopian woman. And they said, “Has God only spoken to Moses and not to us as well?” God heard this conversation against Moses. Then God called Moses, Miriam and Aaron to the tabernacle. He descended in a cloud to the door of the tabernacle and called Miriam and Aaron.

And God said, “Understand this – if there is a prophet among you, I will make myself known to him in a vision and will speak to him in a dream. “Moses, however, is not just a prophet and I don’t speak to him in this way – I speak to him face to face and not with veiled speeches and riddles. Given his special status in my sight, why did you feel you had the right to speak out against him?” Having vented his anger against Miriam and Aaron, God departed.

Once the cloud had lifted from the tabernacle, Miriam found that she was white with leprosy. And Aaron appealed to Moses, saying, “Please don’t hold this foolish offence against us, and please don’t let Miriam remain in this terrible state.” Moses then cried out to God to heal Miriam.

God replied: “If her father merely spat in her presence, she’d have to endure seven days of shame. So let her be kept outside the camp for seven days.” Miriam was therefore ostracised for a week, and only when she returned to camp did the people strike camp and set off again. The people left Hazeroth and pitched their tents in the wilderness of Paran.

 

Commentary on the 36th 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.

 

He will do this every week by investigating the Old Testament.

 

SAS: So, the Children of Israel finally started moving, did they? Not without a whole lot of rules and regulations, rituals and ceremonies.

MS: I think you underestimate the magnitude of the task, Sigmund. Can you imagine co-ordinating this operation?

SAS: Well, Moses wasn’t much of a travel agent. He kept having meltdowns when the people didn’t like the arrangements, or when the catering wasn’t to their liking. God, as usual, like most CEOs, wasn’t having any of these complaints. He just punished those who were dirty, disobedient or whinging. Not much of a man for feedback, constructive or otherwise, your God.

MS: Look, as I have often pointed out to you, for a project of this magnitude to succeed, the plans needed to be clear, and the people needed to be disciplined. Moses relied for guidance on God, and expected the people to rely on him, in turn. When they rebelled, he had no choice but to take their complaints to the Lord.

SAS: Oh, Methuselah! Moses was a wimp. He couldn’t stand up against the people unless God helped with the odd bit of fire-power. He didn’t enjoy power and leadership when the going got tough. He did not have enough personal authority to inspire the people to follow him. He had to rely on external force. This reminds me of family abuse – God loves his people and he can punish them as he sees fit. Moses can only stand there as a witness to God’s demonstrations of love for his people -- the kind of love we now call “tough love”.

MS: You are lucky that I tolerate your blasphemous remarks. I am so sure of God’s love for his people that I can withstand this cynical nonsense of yours. You entirely miss the point of the whole Parsha. God wanted the people to be united, pure and devout. To this end, he ensured that they were disciplined, respectful and healthy.

SAS: Too much manna! They wanted a change of diet. Our people are not vegetarians. But sending them poisoned quail? Surely that was a bit much. The Behaviourist God – flooding them with quail to ensure they would be more careful the next time they expressed a need for something different! The ones that survived, in any event!

MS: You are actually crazy, you know that? God was teaching his people, and supporting Moses. You do not understand the concept of awe, and due respect. You think everyone is equal and Judaism a democracy with an elected God and an elected leader. God chose Moses, and God chose the Jews. It’s not the other way round. It wasn’t an election, it was a beneficent gift bestowed upon us. We are to be grateful, not furious.

SAS: Oh, pardon me for thinking that human beings can make free choices about whom they believe in and what they believe. I see that according to you, we are, after all, merely God’s playthings. Why bother, then? Just keep grovelling so that we keep the old man sweet.

MS: You so clearly do not understand the notions of worship, submission, acceptance and gratitude. You are spoilt, my friend. You think your intellect appeared as a result of your own power. How could that possibly be? You are blind to what you have been given, and ungrateful to boot.

SAS: What do you expect me to do? Thank God that I am an atheist? There’s only one thing I like about God’s behaviour in this Parsha. He turned Miriam’s racism against her.  Turned her white in fact, since she seemed to have such a strong objection to Moses’s dark-skinned wife. Good for God!

MS: You show extreme levity in the face of serious matters like leprosy. Your lack of respect shows your shallowness of understanding.

SAS: If God can give her leprosy, he can take it away. It’s all a game in which he makes the rules.

MS: A game? There were no games being played here, my friend. Our people were in the middle of the desert with their very existence hanging by a thread – the thread of divine love and protection.  Anyone undermining Moses, undermining morale, or challenging the will of God was expressing nothing less than treason against the community as a whole, and treason, since it entails a deliberate attempt to bring about mass collapse of the community, should be punishable by death.

SAS: Hmmm – so Miriam can count herself lucky that her gossiping put-downs of Moses didn’t make her a target for a lightning bolt! Isn’t it strange, however, that Aaron – her gossip partner – wasn’t punished at all? I’m surprised God didn’t hand down two sets of Commandments – one for men and one for women!

MS:  Here we are – back on familiar terrain. You’re obsessed with undermining God’s order. Let’s leave things for a week. I need a break from you, starting right now.

 

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 2 

 

There was major disagreement between coalition leader David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin over the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany, which was signed in September 1952. Ben-Gurion lobbied for acceptance of the deal while Begin argued that the agreement constituted a pardon for the Nazis. 

The question of whether to ratify the agreement was put to the Knesset on 7 January 1952 and Begin led a demonstration in Jerusalem against acceptance. This included a call for the violent overthrow of the government! The rally drew a crowd of 15,000, with demonstrators marching towards the Knesset and throwing stones. Rioting went on for five hours before police seized control using tear gas and hoses. Some 200 protestors and 140 policemen were injured. Hundreds of arrests were made.Begin was held responsible for the violence and he was barred from the Knesset for several months.

The interrupted debate in the Knesset ended with a vote of 61-50 in favour of accepting the reparation package. The Luxembourg Agreement was signed on 10 September, 1952, by West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and World Jewish Congress President Nahum Goldmann.

In terms of the agreement, West Germany would pay Israel 3-billion marks over a 14-year period while 450 million marks went to the World Jewish Congress. Payments were made to the State of Israel, the body representing victims with no surviving family. The money was invested in Israel’s infrastructure and represented a significant proportion of Israel’s income – as much as 87.5% in 1956. 

Said Nachum Goldmann in his autobiography: “Railways and telephones, dock installations and irrigation plants, whole areas of industry and agriculture, would not be where they are today without the reparations from Germany. And hundreds of thousands of Jewish victims of Nazism have received considerable sums under the law of restitution.”

West Germany built and installed five power plants in Israel between 1953 and 1956 which hugely boosted electrical power. West Germans also laid 280km of pipelines for the irrigation of the Negev.

After the Berlin Wall came down at the end of 1989, Jews started making claims for property stolen in East Germany. Investigations into Swiss Bank deposits made by Jews who were subsequently murdered were also made. Survivor groups also pressured companies like Siemens, BMW, Volkswagen, Adam Opel and the Deutsche Bank to compensate forced labourers. In 1999 the German government announced the establishment of a fund from these companies to help Holocaust survivors.  Investigations into insurance companies who might be liable for payouts to former Jewish clients were also launched towards the end of the 1990s.  

Such matters are overseen by The World Jewish Restitution Organisation which was founded for this purpose. 

 

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

 

DAD: You’ve been supporting Menachem Begin’s position, but you can’t approve of a call for the violent overthrow of the government or a serious stoush like this in full view of the world media.

BEN: No, I do not believe that Jews should commit any type of violence against fellow Jews. I would have hoped that the majority of Jews would have seen the moral problem associated with accepting reparation payments. And now that I’ve had time to think since last week, I say Israel should have raised the funds it needed for the new state from completely different quarters – it wasn’t a case of “take the German money or get no money at all.”

DAD: Yes, but we’re talking billions here, Ben, and only a country with a huge moral debt and lots of money to pay could be expected to produce a sum of 3 billion marks.

CHAYA: Dad’s right about that, Ben and – as he said last week – it wasn’t just a matter of the money. Israel received the benefit of German expertise in the construction of installations like power stations and pipelines.

DAD: Yes, we had a partner in the construction of a Jewish state that was technically well equipped to help us. This unlikely and, for many, unsavoury collaboration served a more than useful purpose and helped Jews and Germans put the past behind them.

BEN: This is exactly what we didn’t need to do! By accepting German money and assistance, we betrayed the memories of those who died by German hands! We were normalising relations with our murderers and oppressors!

CHAYA: Not with the same regime, though – be fair, Ben!

BEN: Granted, but there were millions in Germany who had helped to legitimise the Nazi regime. The whole country didn’t miraculously embrace the Jewish cause after the war and then become our supporters and enthusiastic benefactors.

DAD: What “whole country”? It had been partitioned into Western and Eastern halves, and the West was hit with the whole reparation bill. But, in any event, you can’t view a massive reparation exercise in terms of “normalising” relations. There is nothing normal whatsoever in such a relationship between nations. It’s a very special circumstance. Granted, it paves the way towards possible normalisation in the future, but it doesn’t create normal relations straight off – far from it.

CHAYA: I want to get the conversation back to the fight outside the Knesset. I think we’d all agree that it’s better for Jews in Israel to present a relatively united front to the world and to respect the authority of the Knesset at all times. Parliamentary democracy is fundamental to contemporary Israel’s identity and future prosperity.

BEN: I agree, but the strong tradition of opposition politics must remain alive as it keeps Israel adaptive and vibrant, and it forces elected governments to perform effectively. In any event, a whole nation can’t agree with the decisions taken by a party or parties who are in power, and whose views they might not support. We are Jews, and we don’t all think the same way. I disagree that we need at all times to show a united front.

DAD: We’re united on this, I think, and so your sometime hero Begin needs to be taken to task here, Ben. His actions threatened the sanctity of the political process as well as public order and he was lucky to get off as lightly as he did.

CHAYA: And if he’d been successful, close to 90% of Israel’s 1956 income would never have seen the light of day. You can’t argue with figures that like, Ben.

BEN: I’m not arguing about the figures. I’m arguing about principles.

DAD:  What intrigues me is that famous businesses like Siemens, BMW, Volkswagen, Adam Opel and the Deutsche Bank paid reparation fees. This reminds us, as if we needed reminding, that big business in today’s world never plays a morally neutral role. They are all ideologically implicated in one or another way and must always face their responsibilities to humanity itself.

BEN: Sure, and if we lay the proper guilt trips on them, we can benefit from their blood money. This stills stinks as far as I’m concerned. There’s a strange notion afoot, and I think it’s all over-simplistic.

DAD: Sure it stinks. But the German reparations had very significant benefits for Jews in Israel and in other places.

CHAYA: They should call you the Spinmeister, Dad. You’ve convinced me of the benefits of the reparation program.

BEN: I will take longer to convince. In the meantime, reparations to my student canteen allowance wouldn’t go amiss.

 

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:

 

·        A car hits a Jewish man. The paramedic asks, “Are you comfortable?” The man says, “I make a good living.” (Jewish joke)

·        “I’m Jewish. I don’t work out. If God had wanted us to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.” (Joan Rivers)

·        One father can support ten children, but ten children don’t seem able to support one father.

·        If a fool says nothing, you can’t tell whether he’s a fool or a sage.

·        The Hebrews have done more to civilise men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilising the nations.
(John Adams)

 

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.

 

Gershom Mendes Seixas (1746-1816) 

Gershom Seixas was the first native-born rabbi in the USA. Born in New York into a Portuguese-Jewish family, he became the rabbi of the Congregation Shearith Israel, in 1768. His congregation was made up of Jews of Spanish and Portuguese heritage. Outside of his rabbinical duties, he taught Hebrew, literature and law to the community. After stays in Stamford, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, Seixas returned to New York in 1784 where he established charities and helped save the Jewish cemetery in Chatham Square. He was the first US rabbi to give sermons in English, many of which were in support of the American Revolution. He helped raise funds to build synagogues in other cities and served as a trustee of Columbia College. He fathered 15 children with his first wife and 11 with his second.

 

 

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]