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Shabbat and Candlelighting  
for Friday, July 9, 2021 / 1 Av 5781

 Light Shabbat candles at 7:23 p.m.
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Dear Congregation Kehillah and Friends,

I hope that you have been enjoying your summer and that it has been restful and restorative, and hope that you enjoy these Shabbat candlelighting reminders and their messages, as well as the beauty that Shabbat itself brings. There is nothing quite like taking a moment from the hectic pace of life to catch our breath, to show appreciation for the many gifts that have been given us, to reconnect with our loved ones (whether they are far away or nearby), and to do our part to (literally) bring some more light into the world!

It's all about the journey...
This week's Torah portion is a double one: Mattot/Masei.
As we near the end of the fourth book of Torah, Sefer Bamidbar/Numbers, our ancestors were close to reaching the Land of Israel forty years after having left Egypt.
Two tribes of Israel, Gad and Reuven, requested to settle in lands that the Israelites had captured, but other than what was assigned to them. They wanted to be east of the Jordan River, feeling that those lands were better suited for them and their cattle. Moses was opposed and accused them of abandoning their people at a critical time as they were about to go into a war. He, along with the leaders of Gad and Reuven, entered into an ultimately successful negotiation worthy of serving as a case study in organizational management and leadership. Based on this parasha, the Talmud (Baba Kama 20b) extrapolates that an act is allowable if "one side gains and the other side does not lose", aka "a win-win". They convinced Moses of their integrity, stuck to issues, considered proposed compromises and assumed a leadership role in supporting their brothers and sisters (leading the troops in battle) and then settled down in their desired lands east of the Jordan.

A pressing question arises: even as we choose to live outside our ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel, (our version of 'east of Jordan'), do we still sense that "kol Yisrael arayvim zeh b'zeh/all Israel is responsible for one another" (B. Talmud Shavuot 39a)? How do we live that value? What can we do to support our family, wherever they may be?

None of us stand alone, or as the great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber* reminded us, we exist in relationship to others and the world in which we live.
And, I add, to the One Who created us all.

Here is the first of the two kavannot for this week. Please choose the one you find more meaningful.

A kavannah for candlelighting on Shabbat Mattot

Holy One, help us to remember and to lovingly honor our relationships and obligations to one another in all of our families, including our Jewish family and our human family. Help us to understand that no one stands alone and that we are fundamentally connected to one another. As I light these Shabbat candles, bringing light into my home, may I also commit to doing what I can and then one act more to honor my responsibility to my Jewish family.

*Martin Buber (passed away in the mid-1960's) was an Austrian-born Israeli Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship. 

Parashat Masei enumerates the 42 different stages in the journey of the newborn Jewish nation from the land of Egypt until its entry into the Land of Israel. The Baal Shem Tov (founder of Chasidism) taught that these 42 stages in our people's journey are mirrored in the life of every individual as we proceed from birth (our personal "exodus from Egypt") through "the Land of Life".
Here is the second kavannah (a focused intention/meditation) which I hope will enhance your candlelighting experience this Shabbat:

kavannah for candlelighting on Shabbat Masei

Please be with me Adonai on my journey this week. Guide me and be my compass so that I might be an instrument of goodness and kindness and love, bringing light and blessing to Your world.

Thank you for being part of our collective journey in building this kehillah 
(community). May the path ahead lead to growth and be a source of inspiration, compassion, love and blessing. 

I look forward to welcoming you back on August 13th at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom for Kabbalat Shabbat. The High Holy Day season starts with Havdalah and a meaningful and thought-provoking Selichot program on Saturday night, August 28th. Please check Kehillah Connections for more information. 

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman 
Congregation Kehillah
info@congregationkehillah.org   |   congregationkehillah.org
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.)