S.T.A.R. News & Events
Here are S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:
July 20-22, 2012
July 24-26, 2012
Shabbat Parashat: Balak
Candle Lighting: 7:49pm
Shabbat Ends: 8:53pm
Ready When You Are, Mr. De Mille!
"…and from there he saw the edge of the people." (22:39)
Cecil B. De Mille, the Hollywood director who invented the ‘epic’ movie, stood ready to shoot the climax of his latest epic.
No expense had been spared to re-create a mind-boggling authentic depiction of the collapse of an entire city in a massive man-made earthquake that would rival the real thing.
De Mille was taking no chances and he had a then-unheard-of three cameras shooting the convulsions and death-throes of the city.
Everything was set.
He signaled the special effects team. A massive explosion rent the air, followed by another, the ground heaved and surged upward, manipulated by vast unseen hydraulic lifts; specially trained stunt men and women risked their lives, dodging falling Doric pillars and the lunging floors careering skyward.
Buildings were falling in every direction; fires poured out of the carcasses of those that had already fallen.
After the dust had settled, De Mille picked up his bullhorn and roared to the first camera, "Didja get it?"
"Mr. De Mille, I don’t know what happened, I’m so sorry! The film jammed just before we started."
"Okay, don’t worry, we still have two cameras."
"Camera two, didja get it?" "Mr. De Mille, right at the beginning, during the first explosion, a stone hit the camera; we didn’t get anything!"
"Never mind, we’ve still got one camera. Camera three, didja get it? Didja get it?"
"â€¦Ready when you are, Mr. De Milleâ€¦"
It seems like the Jewish People are like extras waiting to come on the set in this week’s Torah reading.
Had the Torah not told us of the episode of Bilam trying to curse the Jewish People, we would never have known about it.
All the other events that the Torah writes concerning the Jewish People could also be known from tradition, but not this week’s parsha. When this week’s parsha was taking place, the Jewish People were way out of earshot. You could only see them somewhere in the distance – from the top of a hill; across a field; in the wilderness. But we never see them close up. They’re like extras in their own movie. Had it not been for the Torah, we would never know what a narrow escape we had. The Jewish People walk through this week’s parsha blissfully unaware of the machinations of Balak and Bilam.
At the end of sixth century, the Byzantine Empire completely destroyed the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel. Unbeknownst to the Jews of Babylon, the Byzantines then poised themselves to also make Babylon â€˜Judenrein’. Before they could implement their plans, however, the Moslem revolt toppled them from power.
Jews played a prominent role in the overthrow of Czarist Russia and in the subsequent Soviet government. Secretly, however, in 1953, Josef Stalin tried unsuccessfully to destroy the Jews in what became known as "The Doctors’ Plot." According to one theory, if the “Doctors’ Plot” had carried on and reached its climax, there would have been a mass expulsion of Soviet Jewry. But these plans died along with Stalin on March 6, 1953.
In the series of Psalms that make up Hallel, there appears the shortest Psalm (117). It speaks of a world in the time of the Mashiach:
"Praise G-d all nations; laud Him all the peoples; for His kindness to us was overwhelming."
Once, a Russian prince asked Rav Itzaleh of Volozhin why non-Jews will be expected to praise G-d for His kindness to Israel. Rav Itzaleh replied, "The princes of the nations constantly plot our annihilation but our Merciful G-d foils your plans. You keep your plots so secret that we Jews don’t even realize in how many ways you have tried to harm us and in how many ways G-d has saved us. Only you, the nations of the non-Jewish world, truly see the extent of G-d’s kindness to us, and therefore only you can praise Him adequately.
- Source: Based on an idea heard from Rabbi Reuven Subar
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