March 21, 2014 Shemini

S.T.A.R. News & Events

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

March 23

Kids Laser Tag Extreme!



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This Shabbat

 Friday Candle Lighting: 6:48pm

Shabbat Ends: 7:44pm

Torah Message

The Prose and The Passion

"…a strange fire" (10:1)

Everything in this world is a physical parable of a spiritual reality.

Take the computer for example. The entire "miracle" of the computer is based on the numbers ‘1’ and ‘0’ placed in ever more complicated and elaborate sequences. If there’s a ‘0’ where there should be a ‘1’ or vice versa, even the simplest program will just not run. It will probably send one of those delightful error messages like, “Would you like to debug now?” No thank you, I’d like to finish this article which is already late!

It’s not immediately apparent but serving G-d is somewhat like a computer program.

In this week’s Torah portion the joyous event of the dedication of the Mishkan (a joy that Chazalcompare to the creation of Heaven and Earth) is marred by the tragic death of two of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu.

Nadav and Avihu are consumed by fire when they enter unbidden into the sanctuary of G-d to offer incense. The Torah refers to this as a "strange fire". "Strange" because they were not commanded to do so.

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi in "Kuzari" explains that this fire represents their passion. They were passionate to come close to G-d, but they didn’t respect the boundaries that He had set for them.

The halacha is our boundary, and even when one has great passion to seek G-d, one must respect those boundaries. Rabbi Soleveitchik once said that if G-d had not given us explicit permission we would not even be able to pray to Him. What arrogance would it be for us to approach G-d? However, G-d not only allows, but even desires our prayers. Still, we must respect the distance that exists between us and G-d.

The desire for spirituality is often impatient with details, rules, regulations and procedures. In looking at the big picture one might feel that paying attention to the small details is just not very important and even distracting. What difference does it make if I recite "Shema" five minutes after the latest time? What is the problem if I flick a light switch on Shabbat?

Isn’t "passionate feeling" the most important element of spirituality?

The tragedy of Nadav and Avihu reminds us that wonderful as fiery passion is, when not grounded in submission to the Will of G-d, when it represents the exercise of ego instead of surrender, it cannot connect and ultimately will be destructive.

  • Sources: thanks to Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz


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

Avot Ubanim Program has started for fathers and their kids of ages 4 and up every Saturday night from 7:30pm – 8:30pm, Lots of prizes and great Pizza every week!


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

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
David Eliyahu Chai ben Nina Miryam Chaya
Ruchama Sara Miryam Bat Tamar
Chayim Avraham ben Zari
Chaya Bat Golnaz
David Eliyahu Chai ben Nina Miryam Chaya

Donna Devora bat Sara 

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