February 2, 2012 Beshalach
S.T.A.R. News & Events
Here are S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:
February 11, 2012
Join the STAR Teens as we explore the and capture the world. A whole night of fun, great food and much more at the largest Laser Tag facility in LA.
February 20, 2012
STAR kids will be having a full day of fun in the snowiest part of LA. Sledding, Snow ball fights, great food and much much more.
Shabbat Parashat: Beshalach
Candle Lighting: 5:07pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:05pm
A Divine Tapestry
"Then Moshe and the Children of Yisrael chose to sing this song to G-d." (15:1)
As a young boy, I remember my mother weaving a tapestry of Gainsborough’s "The Boy In Blue". It took her forever. One day, shortly before she finished it, I remember picking it up and thinking to myself: "Mommy, you may be the best mother in the world, but when it comes to needlework, wellâ€¦ There’s a piece of red sticking out here. Over here, there’s a turquoise thread that seems to go nowhere. Clumps of wool all over the place. This doesn’t look anything like Gainsbrough. This thing is a mess!" The whole thing looked like chaos.
Suddenly, my fingertips detected smooth regular stitching on the other side of the tapestry. I turned the tapestry over and saw the most beautiful sight. An exquisite and precise copy of Gainsborough’s "Boy in Blue". The stitches were so regular and well formed. The colors all blended so beautifully together. A divine tapestry! All the disjointed threads that I saw on the other side of the tapestry harmonized into a complete and beautiful whole.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to see sense in world events. It’s difficult to believe that the world is being run by Somebody. You wonder how things could be part of a Divine coherent plan. You hear about suffering and evil, and you wonder how this can this be the handiwork of a Merciful G-d?
Don’t think you’re alone if you feel like that. You’re in good company. Because one of the greatest men who ever lived felt exactly like you. Moses, our greatest teacher, also had his questions about how G-d was running the show. In last week’s Torah portion Moses went to Pharaoh to ask him to let the Jewish People go. Pharaoh, as you may remember, was not the easiest of negotiating partners. In reply to Moses’ request, Pharaoh told the taskmasters to stop giving the Jews straw. However, the Jews were still required to produce the same quantity of bricks as before. Not surprisingly, the Jews complained bitterly to Moses. So Moses went back to G-d and said, "Why have You done evil to this people; why have you sent me? From the time I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, he did evil to this People, but You did not rescue Your people."
Moses wasn’t just complaining about the problems he was having now with Pharaoh. Rather, he was saying that "from the time" – from its very beginning – the whole plan to take the Jews out of Egypt was fatally flawed. He was saying to G-d that he didn’t see any order in what was going on.
When you look at life’s rich tapestry from the wrong side it looks like a complete mess. Moshe didn’t see the Divine needlework of the Creator. He was looking at events from the wrong perspective. However, the same word that Moshe used to complain to G-d, he repeated in G-d’s praise when he saw the perfection of the Divine Plan. The Midrash says that just as Moses erred with the expression M’Az – "From the time" – so too with that same word "Az", Moses rectified his mistake.
After the Jewish People emerged from the splitting of the sea, they saw the mighty Egyptian army strewn across the beach like so many broken toy soldiers. It was there that every Jew, from the greatest to the most humble, reached a level of insight into the workings of the world that has never been repeated.
This perception moved Moses and the Children of Israel to song. Song in Jewish thought represents the ability to harmonize all the disparate events in our world and plug them back into the One – "G-d is One".
"Then – Az – Moses and the Children of Israel sang a song."
That song is part of the prayers we say every single day of the year. Maybe one of the reasons we say it every day is to remind ourselves that when life seems like a bad attempt at modern art, we must know that there is a Supernal Artist weaving the Divine Tapestry. And not a single thread is without design and beauty.
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
Congratulations to Mr. Aime Eliezer Oiknine for being elected as the new president of Em Habanim. May he be a source of growth and success for his community and all of Am Yisrael.
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!