August 24, 2012 Shoftim

S.T.A.R. News & Events

Here are S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:

September 9, 2012

Join STAR as we kick off the new year for kids at Rosh Hashana Live!

September 22, 2012

STAR Kicks off the new year with an amazing late night at SPEEDZONE!!!

This Shabbat

Shabbat Parashat: Shoftim

Candle Lighting: 7:11pm
Shabbat Ends: 8:07pm

Torah Message

No Stone Unturned

"Do not erect for yourself an altar of only one stone."

‘Organized religion’ is one of those phrases which is guaranteed to bring distaste to the Western liberal sensitivity.

Being part of a group smacks of regimentation. We who were educated in the ‘liberal enlightened’ tradition were taught to cherish the moment alone with one’s Creator, in a field, on top of a hill, under the stars. And, to be sure, the individual communicating with his Creator not only finds a place in Judaism but is Judaism’s bequest to the world.

But there is another side to Divine worship. One that is much maligned and misunderstood: that of the klal (the entire group) and its Maker.

There are two kinds of altars. An altar made from a single block of stone and an altar made from many stones. There are two kinds of Divine service. That of the individual and that of the klal. The single block represents the service of the individual; that of many stones represents the service of the complete group.

In this week’s portion of the week we learn that the Torah forbids an altar consisting of only one stone. Even though in the times of the Avot the fathers of the Jewish People) the single stone altar was beloved, subsequently, however, it became the preferred method of idolatry and thus was no longer fitting for the service of G-d.

The prophet Eliyahu erected an altar of twelve stones. Twelve is the number of the Tribes of Israel. The Altar of twelve stones symbolizes the unity of the Jewish People in the service of G-d; the klalbecoming like one person. The stones are separate but they join together and become the instrument through which Man can serve his Creator. The individual’s desire its appropriate expression when channeled through this mystical ‘one person’ who is the Jewish People.

Thus it was that the Forefathers were able to build altars of only one stone. For they were the entire Jewish People in embryo. But once the Jewish People are ‘born’ at Sinai, the service of the individual finds its proper fulfillment in making up the ‘one person’ who is Israel.

The spiritual light that we receive in this world is radiated as a totality to all parts of Creation. There is no place which is devoid of His radiance. Thus, when we approach our Creator, it must be as a totality, joined like the stones of the altar. For with even one stone missing, there is no altar.


Rabbi M. Weiss                                                  Rabbi Y. Sakhai

Community News

Em Habanim Congregation

Weekly Parashat Hashavua class with Rabbi Joshua Bittan on Wednesdays at 8:30pm for more info. visit


Em Habanim Sephardic Congregation is pleased to make available its elegant venue for your celebration. Excellent location with easy access to freeways. For more info. visit 

Get Well Soon

We urge the whole community and all the jews around the world to pray for two 16 year old boys that were in a tragic accident. May hashem grant them a full Refuah Shelema and may he grant their families patience and nachat, Amen.

Ariel Menachem Chayim ben Miryam & Daniel ben Sara

We wish a speedy recovery for all the Jews that may need it where ever they may be and especially for:

Em Habanim:

Max Barchichat From Sephardic Temple: Al Azus,Buena Angel,
Elaine Leon,Itzchak Rachmanony

From S.T.A.R.:

Mordechai Chaim Ben Chana, Chaim Ben Buena,
Meshulam Dov Ben Chana Sarah

 Bracha Sara Chaya Bat Ronit,
Donna Devora bat Sara 

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