Weekly Shabbat Messages

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, February 27, 2015Click here to view our archived Shabbat messages.

Shabbat Zachor

This week is Shabbat Zachor – Shabbat “Remember.” It is always the Shabbat before Purim (which is Wednesday night/ Thursday day next week). Its theme co-ordinates with the theme of the holiday of Purim: The Jews persevere and eventually rejoice by thwarting the plan by the evil villain, Haman, as recounted in the Biblical Book of Esther. It’s certainly in keeping with a central theme of several of our most important holidays: They hated us. They tried to annihilate us. We persevered. Let’s eat. What’s remarkable is how relevant this 2000 year plus book is to us today. Anti-Semitism has been called “the longest hatred.” Even when we think we’re finally free of this ancient irrational hatred, it suddenly appears. The news around the world about attacks on Jews is shocking for us who have lived here in America relatively free of anti-Semitism... at least anti-Semitism that keeps us from fulfilling our dreams and living our lives.

The Torah reading on this special Shabbat comes from the Book of Deuteronomy. It describes the perennial enemy of the Jews, the Amalekites, who attacked the weak and the worn down in the desert. The Book of Esther specifically implies that the villain, Haman, is a descendant of an Amalekite King! It is even said that the worst enemies of the Jews throughout history, such as Torquemada, the grand inquisitor of Medieval Spain, or Hitler, the dictator of WWII Germany, were descendants of the Amalekites. The quote from Deuteronomy is pretty perplexing, however:

Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt – how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Therefore, when the Lord your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget.

Those last 14 words of the quotation are odd: we must blot out the memory of Amalek. That’s clear. We must forget. Move past it. Grow away from the shadow of the enemy. However... the last three words are Do not forget. Wipe out memory, but totally forget at the same time. And maybe that’s the key to the perseverance of the Jewish people. We can live our lives without the burden of oppression. But at the same time we mustn’t forget it. We move on... but sometimes we look back.

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

 

Past Shabbat Messages

Shabbat & Secret Jews - Friday, April 26, 2013

Out of the Land of Heaven - Friday, May 3, 2013

Almost Shavuot - Friday, May 10, 2013

Cakes on Shabbat - Friday, May 17, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part I) - Friday, May 24, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part II) - Friday, May 31, 2013

Solomon's Temple and the Shabbat - Friday, June 7, 2013

Shabbat Starts When? - Friday, June 14, 2013 & June 13, 2014

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part I - Friday, June 21, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 2 - Friday, June 28, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 3 - Friday, July 5, 2013

Crypto Jews and the Shabbat - Friday, July 12, 2013

Shabbat Nachamu... The Sabbath of Consolation - Friday, July 19, 2013

Bialik and Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday, July 26, 2013

Angels and Shabbat - Friday, August 2, 2013

Shabbat in the Land of the Midnight Sun - Friday, August 9, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem As Told By Jody-  Friday, August 16, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem II As Told By Jody - Friday, August 23, 2013

The Streets of Jerusalem - Friday, August 30, 2013

The Final Heat – Closing in on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shabbat and Yom Kippur - Friday, September 13, 2013

Species, Species and More Species - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shabbat Breishit - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Evening & Morning - Friday, October 4, 2013

Singing and the Sabbath - Friday, October 11, 2013 & Friday, May 9, 2014

The Rainy Season - Friday, October 18, 2013

The Triennial Torah Cycle - Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sabbath and the Temple - Friday, November 1, 2013

It Is All In the Timing - Friday, November 8, 2013

Challah - Friday, November 15, 2013

Why is the Challah Braided? - Friday, November 22, 2013

Shabbat, Thanksgivukkah and Beyond - Friday, November 29, 2013

Carrying on Shabbat - Friday, December 6, 2013

Eruv Art - Friday, December 13, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness - Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness Continued - Friday, December 27, 2013

The First Shabbat of the Year - Friday, January 3, 2014

Shabbat Shirah - Friday, January 10, 2014

Shabbat and Trees - Friday, January 17, 2014

Strangers in our Midst - Friday, January 24, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part I - Friday, January 31, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part II - Friday, February 7, 2014

Shabbat, Babylonians, Tacitus, and the Communists - Friday, February 14, 2014

The Shabbat Umbrella - Friday, February 21, 2014

Lighting Shabbat Candles - Friday, February 28, 2014

Philip Roth and Shabbat - Friday, March 7, 2014

Shabbat Zachor - Friday, March 14, 2014

Shabbat in Amsterdam - Friday, March 21, 2014

Ahad Ha’am and the Shabbat - Friday, March 28, 2014

Shabbat at the JCCA Biennial - Friday, April 4, 2014

Shabbat HaGadol – The Great Sabbath - Friday, April 11, 2014

Challah on the Shabbat During Passover? - Friday, April 18, 2014

Shabbat and the Counting of the Omer - Friday, April 25, 2014

Shabbat and the First Yom Ha’Atzmaut - Friday, May 2, 2014

Sabbaths and Sabbaticals - Friday, May 16, 2014

Light and Dark and theShabbat - Friday, May 23, 2014

Learning on Shabbat - Friday, May 30, 2014

The Shabbat After Shavuot - Friday, June 6, 2014

Shabbat in Outer Space - Friday, June 20, 2014

The Longest Friday of the Year - Friday, June 27, 2014

Shabbat and the 4th of July - Friday, July 4, 2014

The Fast of Tammuz - Friday, July 11, 2014

The Three Weeks - Friday, July 18, 2014

Haftarot for the Three Weeks - Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ninth of Av - Friday, August 1, 2014

Sabbath Peace - Friday, August 8, 2014

All You Need is Love - Friday, August 15, 2014

The Secular Shabbat - Friday, August 22, 2014

Labor Day - Friday, August 29, 2014

Elul - Friday, September 5, 2014

Philip Roth and Shabbat - Friday, September 12, 2014

The Last Shabbat of 5774 - Friday, September 19, 2014

Shabbat Shuvah - Friday, September 26, 2014

Shabbat and Yom Kippur - Friday, October 3, 2014

Species, Species and More Species - Friday, October 10, 2014 

Bialik and Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday, October 31, 2014

Akeidat Yitzchak... The Binding of Isaac - Friday, November 7, 2014

Saving the Jewish People - Friday, November 14, 2014

Shabbat and the Artist - Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving - Friday, November 28, 2014

Shabbat and the ‘Cello - Friday, December 5, 2014

Short Friday - Friday, December 12, 2014

The Seven Day Week - Friday, December 19, 2014

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness - Friday, December 26, 2014

The First Shabbat of the Year - Friday, January 2, 2015

The Kiddush - Friday, January 9, 2015

Bread - Friday, January 16, 2015

Covering the Challah - Friday, January 23, 2015

Shabbat Shirah - Friday, January 30, 2015

A Kind of World to Come - Friday, February 6, 2015

Orchestras on Shabbat? - Friday, February 20, 2015

Shabbat Zachor - Friday, February 27, 2015