Shabbat and Candlelighting 
for Friday, November 11, 2022 / 18 Cheshvan 5783

 Light Shabbat candles at 5:10 p.m.
Dear Congregation Kehillah and Friends,

Abraham has been called the most complex person in the Bible and it is with good reason.
 
This Shabbat, our parasha is Vayera ("and God appeared to Abraham")...Abraham had been recuperating (it was only three days since he circumcised himself!), sitting outside his tent which was, uncommon to local tradition, open on all sides, looking -- waiting for someone to pass by so that he could confer hospitality.
 
Abraham ran to greet the approaching strangers to welcome them into the tent he shared with Sarah, establishing our mitzvah of hachnassat orchim (hospitality or welcoming guests) and the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim (visiting the sick). In this case, the 'guests' were angels or messengers of God (other human beings, perhaps?) who were both checking on Abraham's health and announcing that 90-year-old Sarah would have a baby, for whom she had long waited, within the year.  
 
Other parts of this week's parasha include Isaac's birth and Abraham's arguing with God on behalf of Sodom* and Gemorrah... "If there are even 10 righteous individuals, will you spare the city?" (from this comes the notion of a minyan, a required 10-person quorum for certain communal prayers). The Sodom and Gemorrah stories continue with an explanation of how horrible the residents there really were, Lot's wife (Lot was Abraham's nephew) turned to a pillar of salt, and a story you did not learn in religious school about Lot's daughters and their father. (After the destruction of the cities, thinking they were the only human beings remaining, the daughters contrived and executed a plan to repopulate the world).
 
There is another episode in Vayera you most likely did not learn in religious school -- Abraham and Sarah travel to Gerar and are taken to the palace of the Philistine king, Abimelech. Abraham lies that his beautiful wife Sarah is his sister, thereby saving his life, but subjecting Sarah to becoming part of Abimelech's harem (Abimelech has a dream that makes all right).
 
At Sarah's urging, Abraham sends away Hagar and Ishmael. Their story, together with the Akedah (binding of Isaac), all in Parashat Vayera, are read as well on Rosh Hashanah morning.
 
*Our Israel travelers did an amazing jeep tour through Sodom Valley…not one turned into a pillar of salt. Let us know if you’d be interested in a semi-private trip in May or October!
A kavannah for this week as we light the Shabbat candles:
                                                    
Carrying on the legacy of Abraham and Sarah, may my home and my heart be open and welcoming to all who are in need of my love. May neither my table nor my heart ever be lacking. May I merit being their heirs, learning from our sacred tradition how to be a blessing.
Veteran’s Day is Friday, November 11

Let’s show our appreciation and verbally say thank you to those who have served our country and helped to protect our freedoms.

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Kristallnacht (night of the broken glass, marking the beginning of the Holocaust) was November 9th-10th, 1938 when the Nazis began their destruction, murdering Jews and attempting to eliminate both Jews and vestiges of Jewish life. Some say that Kristallnacht is no longer a good term - much more than glass was broken over those nights. Some try to deny the horrors of what happened. Anti Semitism has never left, but it is on the rise again, spreading like wildfire through social media. Do not be silent!
 
We must not forget either but recommit to being good citizens of our country and members of the Jewish people.

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Please join us for Kabbalat Shabbat one week from tomorrow, November 18th.
 
We know services often end too late for little ones -- young families should feel free to come, stay to light candles at the beginning of services, and leave whenever they need to. 
 
Hope to see you there!

Shabbat Shalom! 

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman
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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