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Showing posts from June, 2010

Sure we have a minyan: ... 7, 8, 9 .. what? Oh....

There is a requirement to have 10 Jewish men who have attained maturity (ie, bar mitzvah) in order to be allowed to say certain prayers.  Everyone knows that, but too often we do not feel both the privilege and responsibility of that fact.

Our shul started in the home of  Rabbi Aryeh Rodin a bit more than 20 years ago; around September of 1987.  He started it by looking for at the zip code map and choosing the region that had the most Jews.  Then he moved into the neighborhood and starting knocking on doors with mezuzahs and asking them to attend an Orthodox minyan, maybe learn something more about Orthodox Judaism, etc.  The response was... well.... slow.  We moved into the neighborhood in the beginning of 1990.  By that time, Ohev Shalom ("Where Jews of All Backgrounds Feel At Home"), had taken up residence in a second floor storefront at the back of a small shopping center in the north part of Dallas (pretty much as far north as you could get and still be in Dallas).  We a…

Forgiveness vs. Consequences

After the disaster of the spies in parshas Shalach, Moshe prayed earnestly to save the Jewish nation from destruction and is finally answered (bamidbar 14:20, following Rashi):
"HaShem said, I have forgiven them in accordance with your arguments."In the following three verses, however, HaShem uses the language of an oath to decree death in the wilderness on the generation that saw all of the miracles in Egypt and then tested Him these 10 times.  What happened?! Wasn't everything forgiven; and not by a mortal, but by HaShem Himself -- the One who is merciful, gracious, ever patient, abounding in loving kindness and truth.  Could there be a more glaring contradiction?  How does "I forgive you" go with "I am killing you"?  How can a loving G-d do that?

There is, of course, no contradiction.  The Jewish nation and that entire generation were forgiven; that entire generation died in the wilderness.  The seeming contradiction comes from our misunderstanding …