Shabbat and Candlelighting 
for Friday, December 31, 2021 / 28 Tevet 5782

 Light Shabbat candles at 5:13 p.m.
Our office will be closed Friday, December 31.
Email and phone will be monitored for emergencies
Dear Congregation Kehillah and Friends,

Our parasha this week is Va'era in which the first seven plagues afflict Egypt in response to the hardening of Pharoah's heart. The term 'plagues' is a later rabbinic description; the Torah text uses the words "signs" (otot), "marvels" (moftim) and "wonders" (niflaot).
 
The opening verse is curious: God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am Adonai. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by my [real] name Y-H-V-H."
 
What difference does it make by which Name the Holy One is known, and why does the text use the connecting word 'and' between each of the patriarchs' names, rather than just say "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"? The Baal Shem Tov (founder of Chasidut/Chassidism) explained that Abraham's understanding of God was different from Isaac's knowledge of God, or Jacob's, teaching us that God reveals Godself differently to each one of us. We each come to know God through our own personal encounters, in our own way. Rabbi Zev Wolf of Zitomer offered a similar teaching, suggesting that The Holy One chooses to reveal to each of us through a different Name, and we are charged with the task of discovering and exploring this unique expression; if we can't seem to find God, it's because we're seeking God through a Name other than the one that is meant for us.

The first step out of emotional and spiritual 'slavery' is to be able to know the Name revealed to us individually - who or what God is in our lives - and by extension, know well our own.
 
It is sometimes a challenge to keep our hearts open to others as well as to ourselves, as we brace ourselves in our kishkes for more time apart, more fractiousness, but keeping our hearts open is what we do as we call on God, or, if you prefer, on our innermost consciousness - whatever name of The Holy One is meant for you.
 
These are unusual times and we all have experienced extraordinary experiences. As we approach 2022, let’s take a step back and see what we’ve learned. Let’s keep our hearts open and set as our goal and our intention to be kinder, more generous and loving, more caring, and to better, as the Prophet Micah taught, ‘walk in Gd’s ways.’
A kavannah for Shabbat Va'era

Please God, let me come to know You, let me know Your ways, let me feel Your presence in my life and please, Holy One, answer my prayers favorably and keep us safe from all harm.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman

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Congregation Kehillah
602-369-7667
Mailing Address: 21001 N.Tatum Blvd., Ste 1630, #439, Phoenix AZ 85050 
Physical Address: 5858 E. Dynamite Blvd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331
(Please note that no mail is received at this address.)
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