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Shabbat and Candle Lighting
for Friday, May 31, 2019 / 27 Iyar 5779

Light Shabbat candles at 7:14 p.m .
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Dear Co ngregation Kehillah and Friends,
Rabbi Sharfman
Parashat Bechukotai   ("With My Laws") contains a covenant/ brit between God and our ancestors; observance of the commandments will result in blessings, while turning away from the mitzvot/commandments will result in punishment. The reason given for the covenant is: "I will be your God, and you shall be MY people. I Adonai am your God who brought you out from the Egyptians' land to be their slaves no more..." In many ways, it's a hard parasha to read, but, as always, there is great meaning within. Bechukotai reminds us that we live in a world in which every action has a reaction. The Torah presents this as: "IF you follow the commandments, then there will be peace and fulfillment...and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid." But, IF you reject the commandments and break the covenant, the "you shall flee when no one pursues you."
This verse influenced Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan to write: "Judaism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic; it is IF-istic." In other words, it tells us what we can make of our lives IF...  There is a rabbinic teaching from the Talmud that says we should understand the statements not as IFs, but as PLEASEs, almost as if God is pleading with us come closer: PLEASE follow the commandments so that there will be peace and fulfillment.
It's really up to us. Always has been.  
Parashat Bechukotai brings us to the end of Sefer Vayikra/Leviticus. Chazak, chazak  ve-nitchzek/Be Strong, Be Strong, and let us strengthen one another!
A  kavannah  for candle lighting  for Shabbat Bechukotai:  
Please help me to stop punishing myself by second-guessing myself with all of the Ifs in my life -- if only I had more money, if only he/she loved me, if only (fill in the blank) then, (fill in the blank). Help me instead to be thoughtful and reflective, drawing myself closer to You and to blessing.
Please, God, let me experience Shabbat rest and renewal of body, mind and spirit so that I may be re-JEW-venated and be in service to You and Your Creation.
Shabbat Shalom,  
Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman 
Congregation Kehillah
info@congregationkehillah.org   |   congregationkehillah.org
5858 E. Dynamite Blvd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Mailing Address: 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Ste. 1630 #439, Phoenix, AZ 85050