December 30, 2011 Vayigash

S.T.A.R. News & Events

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

January 6th-8th

STAR Teens will occupy Big Bear on this amazing retreat. A 3 day luxurious stay at a 5 STAR hotel accompanied by great food lots of crazy fun, skiing, snow boarding and much more.

January 15th:


Let”s go to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland!!! To top it all off, you will be with the happiest people on earth, the STAR Group!


This Shabbat

Shabbat Parashat: Vayigash

Candle Lighting: 4:34pm
Shabbat Ends: 5:39pm

Torah Message

The Good Life

" The years of my dwelling have been one hundred and thirty years. Few and bad have been the days of the years of my life." (47:9)

Most of us think of life as a trip through a treasure house of experiences.

"Living it up" is synonymous with living itself: White-water rafting, paragliding, sipping Margaritas around the pool, seeing the Mona Lisa or the Pyramids or climbing Everest. That’s what life is all about!

The eulogy "He had a good life" usually means that the person used his time to maximize his experiences in the world. According to this view, someone who lives his life without tasting any of this world’s countless experiences hasn’t really lived.

Judaism’s view of the world is the total opposite.

Life experiences are like Cinderella. They last, by definition, as long as one experiences them. However sweet, however exciting they may be, there comes the moment when the gilded coach turns back into a pumpkin. Every moment of life is constantly passing and vanishing forever. As soon as the taste of one moment expires, we must seek a new taste, a new experience.

If life is the sum total of our experiences then life is really a kind of ongoing death, running from moment to moment, never being able to possess the moment itself.

We tend to think of this world and the next world like two chapters in a novel. One finishes and the other begins. This is not the case. There is nothing in the next world that is not in this world already. One of the blessings that we say on the Torah says, "and He has planted within us eternal life…" A plant does not make an appearance out of nowhere. The plant will never be more than what the seed contained. Similarly, our eternal existence is no more than what G-d has planted within us in this world.

If we live for the moment by perceiving life as a series of fleeting experiences, then the taste of the moment lives on our lips for that second and disappears forever.

However, if we take all those moments and connect them to the Source of Life itself, if we understand that our entire life, our entire existence, is just one facet of what the Creator wishes to express and reveal in His creation, then in the next world all those passing moments return to live eternally.

The seed that was planted within is nurtured and flowers into eternal life.

In this week’s Torah portion Pharaoh asks Yaakov, " How old are you?" To which Yaakov replies, "The years of my dwelling have been one hundred and thirty years. Few and bad have been the days of the years of my life."To answer Pharaoh’s question required no more than a number, "One hundred and thirty."

Why, then, did Yaakov see fit to give such a long answer?

You can dwell in this world without truly living in it.

On Yaakov’s level, "living" meant a life of constant Divine inspiration. Hence, he felt that he had not truly lived during the many years that he had been deprived of Divine inspiration.

Yaakov was telling Pharaoh that life is not a mere compendium of possibilities and that he who dies with the most toys wins. Life means immortalizing every second through connection to the Source.

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

Please Join Em Habanim for a special Lecture by world renowned Rabbi Yossi Mizrahi on the 16th of January at 7:30pm.


STAR would like to welcome Mr. Ezra Laniado as the new Em Habanim Youth director. We wish him lots of success and growth.

Sephardic Temple:

Talmud Torah and Youth Havadalah and Movie Nite will return in January after the completion of the remodel of the new Alcana Youth Lounge. Watch for upcoming dates and info!

Get Well Soon

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 Eliza Bat Ehteram, Bracha Sara Chaya Bat Ronit

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