Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – December 11-12, 2020 (25 Kislev 5781)

December 11-12, 2020                                                                              Parashat Vayeshev
25 Kislev 5781                                                                                           Second Night of Hanukkah


According to the mystics, the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days symbolized the victory of light over darkness. And as we celebrate that light during this darkest time of year, we don’t just keep the light for ourselves; we share it with others. The rabbis of the Talmud insisted on pirsumay nisa (Aramaic for ‘publicizing the miracle’). So Jewish law instructs that the light be kindled either at the outer doorway of one’s home or at a courtyard entrance. In Israel, many people light their hanukkiyot right out at the street or sidewalk!

Residents of Heritage Pointe have been intentional about lighting the hanukkiyah in a public space in order to shine our light to the outside community. For a time, it stood in our lobby with its lights shining out the front windows. There, anyone inside the lobby and anyone driving past outside could see it. But last year, our front door kept opening automatically, blowing wind and cold inside our building. To save heat and keep everyone warm, we relocated our hanukkiyah to the Music Room. There, the lights could still be enjoyed from inside and outside. This year, we are challenged with competing values: the value of pirsumay nisa (publicizing the miracle) and the value of pikuach nefesh (preserving the sanctity of life). To keep everyone healthy and safe, we cannot gather to light the lights and sing the blessings. Our hanukkiyah will be inside the Synagogue, where every Resident can watch from home (Channel 1960) and sing along with the blessings. We may not be publicizing to the larger community, but we’ll publicize within. We want to make sure each Resident has the opportunity to enjoy the lights this year. Together we’ll defy the darkness, bringing light to our community here at home.

Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations:

Friday at 4:00 PM – Channel 1960: Hanukkah Candle Lighting followed by Shabbat candle lighting

Friday at 4:30 PM – Channel 1960: Kabbalat Shabbat & Ma’ariv (Evening Service) & Blessings

Saturday at 10:00 AM – Channel 1960: Shabbat/Hanukkah Shacharit (Morning Service) & Blessings


Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo:

Friday evening at 4:25 PM

Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 5:24 PM


Saturday at 5:30 PM – Channel 1960: Hanukkah Candle Lighting

Shabbat Shalom & Hag Hanukkah Sameach!                                            Rabbi Sherman