Shabbat Shelach Lecha
June 4 & 5, 2021
TONIGHT, Thursday, June 3 at 7:00 PM ET

Meeting ID: 843 3834 4592 Passcode: 839836
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Rabbi Baum's Weekly Message

We Need YOU! 
(or, Why Minyan Matters)

Amongst the most iconic images in American history is the poster of Uncle Sam pointing his finger at you (yes, you!) with three simple words: I Want YOU! The poster first appeared when America declared war on Germany during World War I, but the poster was inspired by another war poster in England. The original poster was of the British Secretary of War, Lord Kietchener, pointing at the viewer with the caption, “Your country needs YOU.” 

In both posters, a leader representing the country cries out not to a group of people, but to one person, YOU. The poster was a viral success and was printed over 4 million times just in the last year of the war. I imagine that pointing a finger with the word YOU (in all caps) inspired young servicemen and women to serve their country during the Great War. 

Judaism isn’t really about YOU though; it’s about US. In this week’s parashah, Shelach Lecha, we read about the infamous story of the twelve spies that Moses and God sent to Canaan (Israel) to scout out the land and bring a report back to the people. Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, delivered a positive report: “If God desires it... we shall surely ascend and conquer it.” The other ten reported negatively: “We cannot go up against those people.... It is a land that devours its inhabitants.” God responded, “How much longer must I remain amongst this evil congregation (eidah)?” referring to these ten men.

This story is one of the most important stories in the Torah because it becomes the basis for the concept of minyan, or prayer quorum. Something interesting I learned from Rabbi Dr. Ismar Schorsch (former Chancellor of JTS) is that we are the only religion that requires a number of people to say all of our prayers (we call the prayers we say in a minyan like Barchu and Kaddish, devarim she’bekedushah). We began this transition to finding God in ‘numbers’ after the destruction of the Second Temple. Synagogues became the new places where the people approached God, but the synagogue became dependent on something else: the minyan. If minyan is so important, why do we derive it from this tragic story of ten Jews who behaved badly? 

As human beings, we are imperfect. Our tradition believes that we make mistakes, and we can come back from them, but we need others to help. The spies from this week’s parashah loss of faith began with losing faith in themselves. With everything they saw, they became more and more convinced that they were too small. They became so ‘me’ centered that they forgot that they were surrounded by a powerful and supportive community. 

During this pandemic, we redefined what it meant to show up for others, especially to make a minyan for prayer.

We did so online, and while it worked for the time, it was never meant to permanently replace gathering in person for prayer.

There is nothing like being with someone face to face, engaged in a holy task. This is why I am saying to you today, not that I want you, but we need YOU! We are meeting back in person for services on Shabbat mornings, and on Zoom for some minyanim, but we are seeing less and less people. There are times when we struggle to make a minyan. As we begin to come out of the pandemic, we must also begin to come back together to make a minyan. 

We need YOU to help us make a minyan on Zoom and in person, on Friday morning and night, Saturday morning and afternoon, and to help our fellow congregants out by helping us make a minyan. 

We need YOU
Your congregation needs YOU
God needs YOU so we can be us, the Jewish people. 

I wish you all a Shabbat Shalom and look forward to seeing you this Shabbat!

Rabbi David Baum
Happy Pride Month! I wrote this D'var Torah for Pride Month on this week's parashah, Shelach Lecha in 2018. I hope you find it meaningful.
The Minority Report: How the Minority Can Save the Majority©

וַיַּהַס כָּלֵב אֶת־הָעָם אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה וְיָרַשְׁנוּ אֹתָהּ כִּי־יָכוֹל נוּכַל לָהּ׃ Seforno, a famous medieval Italian Biblical commentator, takes note of Caleb's words, Aleh Na'aleh - let us by all means go up. He writes:...

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Confused by the Israeli Election and the new government formed?!? Here's a 9-minute video that explains everything you need to know about the recent Israeli election.
Friday Morning Minyan and Pirkei Avot/
The Ethics of Our Fathers Class Led by Rabbi Baum

Friday, June 4, 2021
8:30 AM ET
Meeting ID: 882 0065 3129 Passcode: 910086
+13126266799,,88200653129#,,,,,,0#,,910086# US (Chicago)
Led by Students from the
Ruth & Lewis Davis Religious School
June 4, 2021
6:15 PM ET
Meeting ID: 882 0065 3129 Passcode: 910086
+13126266799,,88200653129#,,,,,,0#,,910086# US (Chicago)
In-Person (& on Zoom)
Shabbat Morning Services
Saturday, June 5, 2021
9:30 AM ET


There are still seats available!
You MUST RSVP to attend in person. Vaccinations Required.
First come, first served.
Reservations must be received by Friday at 9:00 AM

For more information on registering, COVID guidelines, and other important details CLICK HERE
Parashat Shelach Lecha
Saturday, June 5, 9:30 AM ET

Matt Weiss - Numbers 14:8-14:10
Bernie Grossman - Numbers 14:11-14:20
Geil Bilu - Numbers 14:21-14:25
Lenny Berkowitz - Numbers 14:26-14:38
Rabbi Elaine Schnee - Numbers 14:39-14:42
Matt Weiss - Numbers 14:43-15:3
Sammy Rosenbaum - Numbers 15:4-15:7
Sammy Rosenbaum - Maftir Numbers 15:4-15:7
               Marvin Horwitz - Haftarah - Joshua 14:6-15
Meeting ID: 882 0065 3129 Passcode: 910086
+13126266799,,88200653129#,,,,,,0#,,910086# US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 882 0065 3129 Passcode: 910086
+13126266799,,88200653129#,,,,,,0#,,910086# US (Chicago)

Virtual L’ Chaim Sponsors
Patty & Matt Weiss in honor of all the Torah & Haftarah Readers

Kemach Torah Nadiv Sponsors 5781
Rachel & Alexander Baum
Nan Berkowitz
Sue & Ben Eisenberg
Judi & Lewis Fogel
Diane & Robert Salamon
Susan & Lewis Witonsky