Shabbat and Candlelighting 
for Friday, July 15th, 2022 / 17 Tamuz, 5782

 Light Shabbat candles at 7:21 p.m.

Dear Congregation Kehillah and Friends,

The Torah conveys an amazing story about a donkey acting like a human and a human acting like, well, a 'donkey,' to teach a lesson about humans appropriately using the power of speech, a trait that distinguishes us from animals. Parashat Balak is named for Balak, King of Moab. Fearful of the approaching Israelites and their military power, Balak hired a magician (Balaam) to curse them (in biblical times, curses were considered to be real and powerful weapons). As Balaam became aware of God's presence in the 'everyday,' his curse became instead a blessing: blessed be everyone who blesses you and cursed be everyone who curses you.... Balaam's words form the opening of the morning service, part of our siddur/prayerbook from the early middle ages:
Mah tovu ohalecha Yaakov.... How goodly are your tents, o Jacob, your dwelling places, o Israel!     

The Rabbis of the Talmud asked: what was so ‘goodly’ about the Israelite tents? They answered: the tents were arranged in such a way as to respect the privacy of others. Do you see a connection with issues with which we are confronted today?

Some people are able to see the pain of others, even in the midst of their own, and strive to understand how others might feel, even when they do not share that world view. Never think for one moment that our actions, appropriately undertaken, cannot lead to change. We are at a historical crossroads. Go out and do good in the world. Learn more of our deep teachings that inspire us to do good and live lives of meaning and proudly, Jewishly, live these values. I am here to help on your journey.
A kavannah for candlelighting on Shabbat Balak
Dear God, let me feel Your Presence and hear Your voice, even in the most unexpected places and from the most unexpected sources.    

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman

PS - I am here to help you on your actual journey to Israel as well! Our next trip is a smaller group 'custom' trip – October 23rd-November 7th. Want to join us? Four spaces left. Here is the link: Please contact Kehillah's office, 602-369-7667 or
Congregation Kehillah
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