Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – May 14-15, 2021 (4 Sivan 5781)

May 14-15, 2021                                                                Parashat B’midbar
4 Sivan 5781

Ready to count and be counted? Last week we completed the reading of the Book of Leviticus, and this week we begin reading the Book of Numbers. The English name “Numbers” represents the census-taking that is central to this portion. Each census has a different purpose: one in particular determines the number of able-bodied men who are able to serve as soldiers in time of war.

Each and every Jew counts. Yes, we count days until Shabbat, days of holidays, days of the Omer, and more. Even more importantly, we ourselves are worth being counted. Hasidic teacher Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev taught that there were 603,550 Israelites—the same number as there are letters in the Torah scroll. Just as any Torah scroll would be invalid if just one letter was missing, Judaism itself would lose its energy and its spirit if it lost just one of us.

Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960 or in the Synagogue
(Limited seating in the Synagogue; masks required at all times)

Friday at 4:15 PM: Kabbalat Shabbat & Ma’ariv (Evening Service); Blessings in Dining Room at 5:15
Saturday at 10:00 AM: Shabbat Shacharit (Morning Service); Blessings in Dining Room at 12:15

Torah Talk – Shabbat afternoon at 1:30 PM in the Music Room (limited seating; masks required)

Monday, May 17 at 10:00 AM: Shavuot Day I Morning Service; Blessings in Dining Room at 12:15
Tuesday, May 18 at 10:00 AM: Shavuot Day II Morning Service/Yizkor; Blessings at 12:15

One of the three major festivals, (along with Sukkot and Passover), Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Each year, it inspires us to study and live the teachings of our tradition. Shavuot means “weeks,” and we celebrate Shavuot seven weeks after Passover. In ancient times this agricultural festival marked the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. It also was a pilgrimage festival, when Israelites brought grain offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Today, many people stay up all night to study. Here at Heritage Pointe, we hold morning services on both days, including a Yizkor (memorial) service on the second day. It also is customary to eat dairy foods on the holiday, and our Dining Room will have plenty to offer!

Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 7:26 PM
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:26 PM

Shabbat Shalom!                                                    Rabbi Sherman