Mevarchim Hachodesh Av
Friday, July 17, 2020 / 25 Tammuz 5780
(6:30 PM Pre-Shabbos Kumzitz see online schedule below)
Friday, July 10
Light Shabbat Candles at
Saturday, July 11
• Davening at the same time as our minyan would start is still considered tefilah b’tzibur on some level.
• Although reading the parsha from a chumash is not krias haTorah, it is recommended to do so.
Rosh chodesh Menahem Av is this Tuesday eve, July 22, and begins The Nine Days.
Matot-Massei Aliyah Summary
This week’s Torah reading, Matot-Massei, begins with the laws of oaths. The Israelites wage battle against Midian, and the spoils are divided and tithed. The tribes of Reuben and Gad request and receive territory outside the mainland of Israel. Moses reviews the forty years of Israelite journeys through the desert. The Torah discusses the boundaries of Israel, its division amongst the tribes, the cities which the Levites would receive, and the cities of refuge. Tzelafchad’s daughters are restricted to marrying within their own tribe.
A person who obligates him- or herself with a vow is required to fulfill the vow. Under certain circumstances, a husband or father can annul vows made by his wife or daughter. The Israelites were commanded to exact revenge from the Midianites for their part in seducing Jewish men to sin (described in the end of the Torah reading of Balak, Numbers 25). A 12,000-strong army of Israelites, led by Pinchas, waged battle against Midian. All adult Midianite males were killed, along with Balaam and Midian’s five kings. The women, children and battle spoils were brought back to the Israelite encampment.
Moses was enraged that the Midianite females were spared. “They were the primary culprits, the ones who seduced the Israelites and brought about the plague which killed so many!” Moses exclaimed. All the males, and all women who possibly could have been involved in the campaign of seduction, were killed. The soldiers were instructed how to purify themselves from the ritual impurity they contracted from contact with corpses in the course of battle, and are told how to kosher the food utensils which were among the spoils. The spoils of the war were evenly divided between the soldiers and the greater community. Tithes from the spoils were given to Elazar the high priest and to the Levites. The army officers counted the soldiers who returned from battle, and determined that not a single man was lost in the war. To show gratitude to G‑d for this miracle, the officers donated to the Tabernacle all the gold jewelry which they personally plundered from the Midianites.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned lots of cattle. Seeing that the eastern bank of the Jordan—the lands of Sichon and Og which they had just conquered—had abundant pasture, they asked Moses if they could remain and settle on the eastern bank. Moses angrily responds that they are following in the footsteps of the spies who were fearful of the Canaanites, did not want to enter the land of Israel, and discouraged the entire nation from doing so. The Reubenites and Gadites respond that they will leave their cattle and families behind in fortified cities, and all their men will proceed into Israel with their brethren and lead them in the conquest of the land. Only after all the land has been conquered and settled would they return to the other side of the Jordan.
Moses accepts the offer of the Reubenites and Gadites, and informs Joshuaand Elazar the high priest of the agreement. These two tribes, along with half of the tribe of Manasseh, settle on the eastern bank of the Jordan, and conquer many of the areas wherein they encountered opposition. The Torah then recounts the journeys of the Jews in the desert, the 42 journeys which took them from Egypt to the banks of the Jordan.
G‑d instructs the Jewish people to eradicate all of Canaan’s inhabitants and destroy their idols, after crossing the Jordan River. The borders of the land of Israel are delineated. The land was to be divided by lottery amongst nine and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh were going to settle on the eastern bank of the Jordan).
G‑d appoints a representative from each tribe to divide his tribe’s portion of land between the tribal members. The Jews are commanded to provide the Levites with 48 cities where they would dwell—42 cities plus the six cities of refuge which would be designated. Along with these cities, the Levites were given expanses surrounding the cities for their cattle.
The Jews are commanded to designate six cities of refuge. These cities offer refuge to a person who inadvertently kills another. The murderer must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the serving high priest. The Jews are enjoined not to take “blood money” from a murderer—intentional or unintentional—who wishes to lighten his sentence. In last week’s reading, G‑d instructed Moses to give the daughters of the deceased Tzelafchad his portion in the land of Israel. The elders of Tzelafchad’s tribe now protested that this would cause Tzelafchad’s grandsons—who could possibly be of another tribe—to inherit their mother’s properties, thus possibly transferring land from the portion of their tribe to another. G‑d therefore instructs Tzelafchad’s daughters to marry men from their own tribe, so that the land they inherit will remain in their ancestral tribe.
Online Classes, Meditations and Concerts
Although we cannot gather physically during this time, we can stay connected and inspired through our online programming. Please join our new Happy Minyan WhatsApp Group to get updates, news and links
Friday, July 17
Shabbat Time with Rabbi Yonah for Pre-Schoolers
Happy Minyan Pre-Shabbos Kumzitz
6:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 880 4710 1025
Saturday, July 18
Musical Havdallah with Rabbi Yonah Bookstein
9:15 PM Pacific Time
Daat's The Way: A Motzei Shabbat Meditation with Yehuda Masjedi
9:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 822 2673 2207
Sunday, July 19
David Sacks’ Spiritual Tools For An Outrageous World
10:00 AM Pacific Time
Meeting ID: 882 6847 2629
Fireside Chat with Rabbi Yonah and Rachel
7:00 PM Pacific Time
Music, Inspiration Q&A and more!
Monday, July 20
Shulchan Aruch Study Group with Rabbi Yonah Bookstein
MON-THUR 9:30AM Pacific Time
Meeting ID: 817 225 0896
Kabbalah-infused Morning Meditation with Marcus Freed
8:30AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Wednesday, July 22
Soul-body relationship according to the Zohar and the Ari haKadosh by Avraham Sutton
8:30 pm Israel time / 1:30 pm Eastern / 10:30 am Pacific time
A special zoom to commemorate the shloshim of Lisa Kulg's brother, Yerachmiel Lipman Nissim ben Ezra v'Alegre z'l, who passed away suddenly on June 1. To help offer support for anyone who is also grieving a recent loss, or whose grief over past losses is triggered during this pandemic, we will invite participants to memorialize their loved ones by listing their names in the chat.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 962 6173 8113
Weekly Seasons of Joy with Sam Glaser
Every Wednesday, 7:30PM Pacific Time
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New Web Series Together with Rabbi Yonah
Together with Rabbi Yonah is a new web series to spread light and healing.
What Are the Three Weeks?
The Three Weeks is an annual mourning period that falls out in the summer. This is when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and our launch into a still-ongoing exile.
It reaches its climax and concludes with the fast of the
9th of Av
, the date when both Holy Temples were set aflame. This is the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, and it is also the date that
many other tragedies
befell our people.
and observances that are followed for the entire three-week period (until midday of the 10th of the Hebrew month of Av, or—if that date falls on Friday—the morning of that day). We do not cut our hair, purchase new clothes, or listen to music. No weddings are held.
(July 9, 2020) is a fast day, on which we refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to nightfall.
of the Three Weeks are a time of intensified mourning. Starting on the first of Av, we refrain from eating meat or drinking wine, and from wearing freshly laundered clothes.
(Eve of July 29-30, 2020)
is a more stringent fast than 17 Tammuz. It begins at sunset of the previous evening, when we gather in the synagogue to read Eicha (the Book of Lamentations). Besides fasting, we abstain from additional pleasures: washing, applying lotions or creams, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Until midday, we sit on the floor or on low stools.
There is more to the Three Weeks than fasting and lamentation. Our sages tell us that those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit seeing it rebuilt with the coming of Moshiach. May that day come soon, and then all the mournful dates on the calendar will be transformed into days of tremendous joy and happiness.