S.T.A.R. News & Events
Here are S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:
November 11, 2012
November 18, 2012
Shabbat Parashat: Vayera
Candle Lighting: 5:41pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:37pm
"And He (G-d) overturned these cities and all the plain and all the dwellers of the cities and the vegetation of the earth." (19:25)
When we look at the situation today it’s easy to despair.
The strident metallic clang of materialism and selfishness seem to swamp out the message of the Torah and its People. The sensuous siren call of the media surrounds us all with a world whose reality is merely virtual.
Society at large seems deaf to morality, to modesty, to the values that are rooted in the Torah. The motto of the time is "Let it all hang out". In a world where there is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing brings shame, and thus anything is possible. And what is possible – happens.
Those who stand for the eternal values of our people are despised as fundamentalists and violent barbarians. Everything has been turned upside down.
There is a strange thread of history that runs from this week’s Torah portion down through the ages and climaxes in the end of history: Lot was rescued from the overturning of Sodom. Why specifically was it necessary to overturn Sodom? Why couldn’t Sodomhave just been destroyed with fire and brimstone? Wouldn’t that have been cataclysmic enough? What are we supposed to learn from the fact that Sodomwas overturned? From the fact that it was "reversed"?
After the destruction of Sodom, Lot’s daughters thought that they were the only human survivors of what must have looked like a global nuclear holocaust. They surmised that the only way to perpetuate the human species was to cohabit with their father. The Torah, however, ascribes no blame to their actions, as their motivation was pure.
From this incestuous union came a people called Moav – literally â€˜from father’. From Moav comes the prototypical convert, Ruth. From Ruth comes King David, and from King David comes the Mashiach. So it turns out that the foundation of Mashiach is ultimately in Sodom.
There are two ways that society’s spiritual landscape can be changed. One way is by improving the situation bit by bit until the world is perfected. The other is that things get so bad that they cannot get any worse. At that point everything reverses in an instant from the nadir to the zenith. This second way is the way Mashiach will come.
The prophets speak in many places about the coming of Mashiach in terms of childbirth.
Someone ignorant of the process of childbirth who sees for the first time a woman in labor would be convinced that she is about to die. And the closer the actual moment of the birth, the stronger that impression would become.
And then, within a couple of minutes, seeming tragedy has turned into the greatest joy. A new life has entered the world.
Immediately prior to the coming of Mashiach there will be a tremendous confusion in the world. Everything will seem to have gone haywire. The natural order will be turned on its head: Age will bow to youth. Ugliness will be trumpeted as beauty, and what is beautiful will be disparaged as unattractive. Barbarism will be lauded as culture. And culture will be dismissed as worthless. The hunger of consumerism and the lust for material wealth will grow more and more, and it will find less and less to satisfy its voracity.
Eventually "materialism" will grow so rapacious that it will become its own angel of death. It will literally consume itself and regurgitate itself back out.
But from this decay the line of David will sprout, like vegetation that springs forth from no more than dirt and earth. For vegetation cannot flourish unless the seed rots. The second event is predicated on the first. It can be no other way.
It’s interesting to note that Mashiach is referred to as the "tzemach tzedek", literally the" righteous sprouting". This is because his coming is identical to the growth of vegetation. First total decay and only then new life.
This is the way Mashiach will come. The worse things become, the more painful the birthpangs, the nearer is his coming. Until, like a mother who had delivered, all the tears and pain will be forgotten in the great joy of a new life.
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
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 emhabanim.com