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Parashat Va-era – December 28, 2013

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Candle lighting time for Friday, December 27, 2013, 4:42 p.m.

Parashat Va-era

25 Tevet, 5774 /December 28, 2013
Triennial Cycle Year I: Exodus 6:2-7:7
Humash Etz Hayim, page 351
Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21, page 369

  1. (6:2-9) God reminds Moses of the Covenant with the Patriarchs, and announces to him the coming redemption of the Israelites from slavery. Moses tells the Israelites, but they are too fearful to listen to him.
  2. (6:10-13) Moses is disheartened and reluctant to go before Pharaoh.
  3. (6:14-27) The genealogy of the tribe of Levi, with the focus on Moses and Aaron’s ancestry.
  4. (6:28-30) Returning to the main line of the narrative, Moses continues to doubt his ability to carry out his task: I am of impeded speech.
  5. (7:1-7) God encourages Moses and Aaron by giving him a glimpse of the successful future of their mission.


Sustaining the Suppleness of our Souls
By Rabbi Philip Ohriner

Exodus 7:3
But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that I may multiply My signs and marvels in the land of Egypt.

Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 13:3, 10th C
Rabbi Yochanan said: “Doesn’t this [heart-hardening] provide skeptics with the grounds for arguing that Pharaoh had no possibility of repenting, since it says: ‘for I have hardened his heart’”? To which Rabbi Shimon b. Lakish replied: “when God warns someone once, twice, and even a third time, and that person doesn’t repent, then and only then does God close his heart against repentance and exact vengeance from his sins.  Thus it was with wicked Pharaoh.  Since God sent five times to him and he sent no notice, God then said, ‘You have stiffened your neck and hardened your heart on your own; well, I will add to your uncleanness….  So it was that the heart of Pharaoh did not receive the words of God.”

Midrash Tanhuma, 9th C
The first five plagues are accompanied by the passive formulation: “Then Pharaoh’s heart was hardened,” since after they came upon him he refused to let the people go. Accordingly the Holy One Blessed be God said: “Henceforth, even if he should want now to let them go, I shall not let him.” For this reason the text adds in the last five plagues: “God hardened Pharoah’s heart.”

Rashi on Proverbs 3:34 (11th C, France, citing Reish Lakish in B. Talmud Shabbat 104a)

If to scorners, he will scorn, but to the poor/meek he will give grace

אִם־לַלֵּצִים הוּא־יָלִיץ וְלַעֲנִיִּים [וְלַעֲנָוִים] יִתֶּן־חֵן׃

If to scorners, he will scorn”: he will scorn, on his own initiative: No one will encourage him and no one will stop him. “If for the meek” if he is attracted by a moral quality “He will show favor” he will be helped from Heaven. If he tries to defile himself, he is given an opening; if he tries to purify himself, he is helped (from Above) and an opening is prepared for him.

Rabbi Brad Artson
Isn’t that how the human heart always works: At first, we are strong enough to say no to temptation. The first time we give in to an illegitimate urge, we do so only moderately and with great guilt and anxiety. With each succeeding indulgence, our guilt is a little less, and our participation a little more sweeping and wholehearted. After a few exposures to the lust of the moment, we are soon enjoying it without even recalling our initial discomfort. In short, our hearts, like Pharaoh’s become hardened…. In so many ways, our hearts, too, have become hard.

Babylonian Talmud Tractate Yoma 87a
Rav huna says in the name of Rav: Once a person commits a sin a couple times, the sin becomes permitted to him.


Mitzvah a Month

Balk Family Memorial Camp Scholarship

Hadashot Religious School

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


Saturday, December 28: Kadima Movie Night and Dessert Decorating Contest – 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 5: Threads of Tradition – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 11: Book Discussion Group – 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 12: Sunday Seminar – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, January 15: CBD Winter Blood Drive – 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays beginning January 16: Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class – 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 18: Sisterhood Shabbat – 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 18: Communal Tu B’Shevat Seders – after services

Sunday, January 19: Tikkun Olameinu – CBD Repairs the World – 9:30 a.m

Sunday, January 19: Upsherin (the cutting of hair) for Eli Ohriner – 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.


January 6-10 and January 12: South Bay Teen Idol Auditions

Saturday January 11: Let’s Dance – Jewish Singles ages 40 – 70 – 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Email to RSVP

Sunday, January 26: Jewbilee – 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.