S.T.A.R. News & Events
Here are S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:
September 9, 2012
September 22, 2012
Shabbat Parashat: Shoftim
Candle Lighting: 7:11pm
Shabbat Ends: 8:07pm
No Stone Unturned
"Do not erect for yourself an altar of only one stone."
â€˜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 â€˜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 â€˜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 â€˜born’ at Sinai, the service of the individual finds its proper fulfillment in making up the â€˜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
Em Habanim Congregation
Weekly Parashat Hashavua class with Rabbi Joshua Bittan on Wednesdays at 8:30pm for more info. visit www.emhabanim.com
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 emhabanim.com