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Parashat Hukkat June 15, 2013

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Candle lighting time for Friday, June 14, 2013, 8:11 p.m.

Parashat Hukkat

7 Tammuz, 5773 / June 15, 2013
Triennial Cycle III: Numbers 20:22-22:1
Humash Etz Hayim, page 887
Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33, page 909

  1. (20:22-29) The death of Aaron.
  2. (21:1-3) An encounter with the Canaanites.
  3. (21:4-10) The people complain against God and Moses. God punishes them with poisonous snakes. After Moses intercedes, God has him set up a copper statue of a snake, which will cure anyone snake-bit who gazes upon it.
  4. (21:11-20) Further stages of the Israelites’ journey through the Transjordan wilderness. The Song of the Well.
  5. (21:21-22:1) The conquest of the land of Sichon and Og and all of trans-Jordan

Watch Yourself (Or, The Power of Wordplay)

By Rabbi Daniel Pressman

Now Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against a former king of Moab and taken all his land from him as far as the Arnon. Therefore the bards [moshlim] would recite: “Come to Heshbon; firmly built and well founded is Sihon’s city. (Numbers 21:26-27)

Ha-moshlim means those who rule their evil inclinations. Come to Heshbon means let us consider the account of the world; the loss incurred by fulfillment of a mitzvah against the reward secured by its observance, and the gain gotten by a transgression against the loss it involves. (Bava Batra 78b)

In short, a man should be so attentive to his actions, and so watchful of his conduct, that he will not tolerate in himself any bad habit or evil tendency, much less any actual sin or transgression. I consider it necessary for a person to conduct himself like a merchant who always takes stock of his affairs so that he may not go wrong in his reckoning. He should set aside a special time each day for the practice of self-scrutiny. For this practice, carried out not sporadically but regularly, is fraught with consequences of great import. (Mesillat Yesharim, Rabbi Moshe Hayim Luzzato)

Get off the dance floor and onto the balcony. Leadership is improvisational. It cannot be scripted. On one hand, to be effective a leader must respond in the moment to what is happening. On the other hand the leader must be able to step back out of the moment and assess what is happening from a wider perspective. We call it getting off the dance floor and onto the balcony. It may be an original metaphor, but it’s not an original idea. For centuries religious traditions have taught disciplines that enable a person to reflect in action.…We call it getting onto the balcony because that’s a metaphor people can easily relate to. But it’s critically important, and the reason why religious traditions have talked about it for so long is that it’s hard to do. You don’t need a major spiritual practice for something that’s easy to do. It’s hard, in the midst of action, to step back and ask yourself: What’s really going on here? (“Leading with an Open Heart,” Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky)

  1. Think back over the last 24 hours to one thing that you did that isn’t useful to your spiritual progress (if you have trouble, think about any time you may have become frustrated or angry — this you’ll probably find easy to do). Think about what positive act you could do that would counter the negative act should it come up again (again, if this is difficult, think about ways that you could boost your patience). Write it down so you don’t forget and review it each day so you’re prepared for the next time it happens.
  2. Take an action you do that isn’t useful to your spiritual development and ask yourself what underlying trait contributes to your action. Is it a lack of a positive trait that needs to be boosted? Is it a negative trait that needs to be diminished? Then sit with what you’ve identified and go back to the question over the course of the week. Each day see if you have accurately identified the trait or if perhaps there is something else at play. Don’t be surprised if your trait identification changes over the course of the week as your heart and mind turn things over and over. (A daily practice to develop your self-awareness, from


Hadashot Religious School

Mitzvah a Month

Minyan – Sunday 9:30 am & Monday – Thursday 7:00 p.m.


Saturday, June 15: Mussar Matters with Rabbi Pressman – 1:30 – 2:30

Sunday, June 16: Bark for Life – Cancer Be Darned Relay for Life Fundraiser – 10:00 a.m.

Friday, June 21: 7th Annual Pride Shabbat – 6:30 p.m.

Friday, June 28: Friday Morning Summer Talmud Study Led by Reuben Levy – 8:45 a.m.

Wednesday, July 10: Social Action Blood Drive – 3:30 p.m.

Saturday July 13 – Sunday July 14 – Cancer Be Darned Relay for Life – Join Us For a Special Havdalah Service – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 14: Hazak BBQ and Picnic – 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 6: Jewish Heritage Night at AT&T Park – 7:15 p.m. – email Carol Weiss


Sunday, June 16: Jewish Folk Chorus of SF – 2:30 pm – View Flyer

Monday, June 17: A Torn Family Reunited through Discovery of an Ancestor’s Diary – 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 18: Hillel of Silicon Valley BBQ – 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 20: Summertime Splashes and Sleepytime Stories – 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 23: Silicon Valley Jewish Music Festival – 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Friday, August 16th – Sunday August 18th – Grief and Growing – A healing weekend. View Flyer