Parashat Shelach Lecha and The Catcher was a Spy

Yoga Class THIS Sunday at 10 am – June 30 at Beth El. FREE and open to all – led by Rachel!

Song filled and joyful services! Tonight @ 7PM! Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message. This week we read Parshat Sh’lah L’kha-which tells the story of the spies who were sent to scout the Land of Israel, and the condemnation of the People of Israel to wander in the desert for forty years. The parshah though closes with a completely different subject-the commandment to wear tzitzith, the ritual fringes on the corners of the tallith. The commandment of course is for the fringe to include a royal blue (t’cheleth) thread. This royal blue dye was derived from a marine snail, a species of murex, but is indistinguishable from indigo to the naked eye. Since unscrupulous dealers were passing off indigo as the more expensive murex dye, the Sages decreed that the blue thread was optional. The murex dye has recently been rediscovered (and can be distinguished from indigo by chemical analysis), but t’cheleth threads in tzitzith are still uncommon. The color is now most recognizable in the blue star and stripes of the flag of the State of Israel. Shabbat Shalom.Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-MosheShabbat candle lighting at 8:19 p.m.

Our next Chai Mitzvah adult class is Thursday July 25 at 7PM at Beth El. Please join us. Come learn about the Jewish perspective on Leadership. The class is free and open to all and you will leave inspired! Scott and Shereen are amazing Leaders of this program! Our Next Sisterhood Book Club Selection is The Catcher was a Spy! A fascinating book & Movie! Tuesday August 27 at 7 PM Location at Doris’s home.Parashat Hashavua with Rabbi Peter Tarlow: The name of this week’s parashah is “Shalach” or “Shalach l’chah. You will find it in the Book of Numbers 13:1-15:41. This section is an example of how difficult it is to translate the Hebrew text into a foreign language. The non-Hebrew reader will miss the irony of this section. The word following “shalach/send forth” is the dative “l’chah” meaning approximately “for your own sake”. To the non-Hebrew reader this use of the dative case may seem superfluous but the Hebrew reader will immediately connect this section to the section in Genesis called “Lech l’chah” In Lech l’chah (Go forth and get out of there for your own sake) G-d sends Abraham into the land of Canaan with the words “Lech l’chah” now in the current parashah G’d tells Moses to “send them (the spies) out into the land for your own sake”. Despite their linguistic similarities there are, however, great differences between the two statements. In Abraham’s case, he owns the challenge, and seeks to fulfill the mission. In the case of the spies, ten of them flee from the challenge. Lech l’chah is about trust, the basis of the relationship between G-d and His people. This week’s parashah Shalach l’chah is about seeing only part of the story and living a life of negativity. It reminds us that facts are the basis of reality and not feel-good policies that in the end do more harm than good. The text illustrates this point in the majority report (given by ten of the spies). They state (13:33): “Vanhi v’eiyneynu k’Chanavim v’chen hayiny b’eineyhem”. The Hebrew once again is hard to translate into western languages, but we might render it as “we made ourselves (we chose to see ourselves) as grasshoppers (insignificant pests) and they saw us in the same way. Here pessimism abounds. Police is to be made on the basis of feelings rather than facts. Perhaps the text is stating: do not assume, G-d has demonstrated numerous reasons for you to trust Him, but once again, there is a return to negativity and the “sky is falling” mentality. How directly is this week’s parashah speaking to us today? How many of us assume the worst, and live in a world of doomsday? Shalach l’chah then is more than a command given by G-d to Moses, it is also a question and a challenge. The Hebrew is stating: send yourself out, dare to explore, and remember that negative thoughts often result in negative actions. Perhaps the difference between Abaham’s Lech l’chah and the spies’ Shalach l’chah is that Abraham was a man who trusted G-d; the spies on the other hand, were pessimists who chose to react rather than act. Are you a person who trusts G-d or is a slave to fear?

Parashat B’haalot’cha and Fred’s Obit

Tonight @ 7PM! Shabbat Morning Services are this Saturday, June 22 at 9 AM, Torah service at 9:45, story time with Shereen and a delicious lunch at around 12 noon. We hope to see you and your family. Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message. This week we read Parshat B’haalot’cha, which begins with a description of the menorah, the seven-branches candelabrum in the Mishkan and later in the Temple. This paragraph actually ends the Torah reading for the last day of Hanukkah-and the haftarah, which also speaks of the menorah, is the haftarah for Shabbat Hanukkah. At the very beginning of summer, when the heat has been oppressive, it is odd to think of Hanukkah and midwinter. It’s a good reminder of the cycle of the Jewish year. There is a certain balance to the Jewish year. Pesah and Sukkoth are separated by six months-six months from spring planting to fall harvest, from the ancient New Year to Rosh Hashanah. Here too we see almost six months from the summer solstice this Friday to the celebration of the Festival of Lights near the winter solstice. While we experience one, we think of the other. Everything is linked, everything in balance Shabbat Shalom. Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe Shabbat candle lighting at 8:18 p.m.📷
Dear Congregants, as promised, here is the obituary for our sweet and precious friend Fred Miller of blessed memory. Fred G. Miller died peacefully on June 17th, 2019 in Austin, TX at the age of 92. Fred was a WWII Veteran of the US Navy. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Marion of 65 years. He is survived by his four sons Marc and Lori of Austin, Keith and Robin of Round Rock, Stephen and Lynn of Austin and Robert of Austin, as well as 10 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and many other loving relatives across the country. Fred was born in Boston, MA on August 9th, 1926. He was laid to rest at Cook Walden Capital Parks Cemetery on June 19th, 2019 with family and friends present. Shiva will be held at the home of Bob Miller on 6/19/19 Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and Monday beginning at 7 PM. In lieu of flowers donations can be sent to: Congregation Beth El 8902 Mesa Drive Austin, Texas 78759

Parashat Behar – weekend services

Services tonight at 7 PM. Services this Shabbat morning starting at 9 a.m. with Psukei De Zimra, followed by the Torah service at 9:45, children’s story time with Morah Shereen’ and a lovely sit down lunch or bagels, lox , lentil soup and salads. We would LOVE to see you! As always, everyone is welcome at Beth El. You will be greeted with a warm smile!

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

This week’s parshah, B’har, contains one of the most famous quotes from early US history-the verse on the Liberty Bell. “Proclaim liberty throughout the land and unto the inhabitants thereof.” וקראתם דרור בארץ לכל ישביה
This verse was taken as an endorsement of American independence from Britain, but the verse originally referred to the proclamation of the Yovel, the Jubilee Year that came every fifty years. During the Yovel, land returned to its original owners, debts were cancelled and indentured servants were freed. The Yovel is an important reminder to us-liberty is not a one time event, but must be constantly renewed. A just society must always look to the liberty of all people at all times, and the playing field must be constantly leveled. In this way we can live up to the high standard which our Torah sets for us. Shabbat Shalom.

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Candle lighting at 8:06 PM

Wonderful FREE Yoga this Sunday May 27 at 10 AM with Yoga Instructor and Beth El member Rachel. Please join us for an hour of Yoga for all abilities, which will include a short, but uplifting Jewish meditation component by Hazzan Ben-Moshe. Thank you to Rachel and Tzahi.

Free and open to all – all levels and abilities, members and non-members. Wear comfortable clothes and bring a mat or towel.

Parashat Kedoshim and Sylvia’s Bat Mitzvah

Services Friday night at 7 PM.

Shabbat morning services are this Saturday May 11, and we will be celebrating Sylvia Wilke’s bat mitzvah. We wish Min Rice and her family a hearty mazal tov. Please plan to join us. Yosef will be doing the Haftarah. There will be a yummy dairy kidush right after, smoked salmon and the works, generously sponsored by Sylvia and her family.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

This week’s parshah is K’doshim-which states “You shall be holy people (k’doshim) for I, HaShem, am Holy”. The book of Vayyikra, Leviticus, is of course full of laws concerning rituals, purity and impurity, and proper diet. But the focus of this parshah specifically dealing with holiness is ethical behavior. Fairness in our interpersonal relationships figures heavily, as well as making sure that we hold ourselves and our society to the highest standards. The Sages teach that we are to act like the Holy One. And how are we to do so? By clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, comforting mourners. Acts of hessed, loving kindness, are the ways in which we make ourselves holy, much more so than any rituals we might perform. May we always be a k’hillah k’doshah, a holy community, bringing out the best from ourselves and from each other. Shabbat Shalom.

Candle lighting at 7:57 PM


This story that I’m about to write has been told to me by a very dear friend. I don’t wish to take complete credit for it, but it has been changed and took some turns in composing it.

It was a nice bright and sunny day in June that Bunny and Paul got married. It had taken many months of planning and finally the day had come. It was a very large wedding which numbered approximately 200 people. You could just feel the love in the air. It was one of the most delightful weddings that had taken place in Boston in some time. After the wedding, the numerous gifts were gathered up and taken to the new apartment. After a three-day honeymoon, the new couple was off to work. I need to share with you that all the gifts were opened but one and listed on a piece of paper who to send thank you notes to and what they sent. Now, let’s talk about the gift that was not opened. It was a very special gift. All we know is that it came from Paul’s aunt. There was a note on it that said to be opened upon your first argument/disagreement. As time went on, there were two different moves, three children and, need I tell you what else happens in that time. That time consisted of seven years. Yes, the gift was still unopened. It had a special place in the kitchen cabinet on top. I am sure there was some slight bumps in the road along the way, but for the most part it was a fairly smooth marriage. As the kids grew and their life was settling down, they thought many times about the gift. They would see the aunt every now and then and tell her that the gift has yet to be opened. It’s been so long the aunt forgot all about the gift or what was in it, but she never said anything about it. Well, today they decided they were going to open the gift. Not because of it’s original instructions, but they wanted to open the gift while the aunt was still alive and their curiosity was going really wild by now. The ribbon was carefully undone and the pretty paper, which now was showing some wear, taken off. The gift was opened. After all these years of guessing what could be in there, they had no idea what it could be. There was a set of toasting goblets and two little envelopes. One envelope had Bunny’s name on it. Inside it said go get some real nice bath salts and take a nice bath and have a glass of wine with it. There was also a $20 wrapped around the note. Paul’s envelope said go get Bunny a bouquet of flowers and some chocolate covered strawberries. It’s funny how a little box held a family together all these years. As I said the road was not smooth all the way, but every time there was a bump, they both remembered the gift on the shelf and they didn’t want to open it because that would indicate that they were defeated. The gift on the shelf kind of bonded them together. They then placed the three children in the station wagon and headed to the aunt’s house. They wanted to personally thank her for the best wedding gift anyone could receive. It’s funny how with age comes wisdom as I said before. Wisdom doesn’t come with a 20 year old.

L dor V dor, Grandpa Abe

May 11 Bat Mitzvah celebration of Sylvia Wilke

May 16 Chai Mitzvah Class at 7 PM

May 19 BERS Graduation Day & Congregational Picnic

June 25 Sisterhood Book Night at Gail Ellenbogen’s home at 7 PM

Look for more information about summer yoga series with Rachel at Beth El! More details to follow.

No Sunday school this weekend, but PLEASE give your Moms a huge hug and make her day super special. Enjoy a photo of Morah Meital and our wonderful children and Ms Carol! Huge thank you to Ms. Carol for coming to sing Israeli songs with our yeladim!