What’s Happening This Weekend?
And a lot more info below
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Meeting ID: 876 3233 5610
Pirkey Avot and Havdallah at 7 pm pst, Sat., March 20th
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Meeting ID: 838 9142 0588 Passcode: 030674
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The Veggie Offering – When Small Is Big
Click the link below to see the tORah now Blog
or read the text below
While the book of Leviticus and its first portion Vaikra focus considerably on animal sacrifices as a standard way of serving God, they do offer alternative offerings. These were either ‘’a grain offering’’ of fine semolina with oil and frankincense, or ‘’a meal-offering baked in the oven’’, or ‘’on a griddle’’, or ‘’in a pan’’. These offerings were equal to the animal offerings in that they too went up on the altar producing ‘’a fragrant odor to the Lord’’ (Ch.2:2).
As we reflect back on the very first offerings in the Torah, one might think that Abel’s animal gift ‘’of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof’’ was preferable in God’s sight to Cain’s veggie gift ‘’from the fruit of the ground’’, if only because ‘’the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect’’ (Genesis 4:4-5). Truth is, there is no decisive telling why God accepted Abel’s gift but rejected Cain’s, notwithstanding the fact that Cain was the first human to bring any offering to God. The Torah leaves it for us to speculate forever why God ignored Cain’s produce offering.
Notably, the Torah does not fault Cain’s "veggie" offering as such, nor does it express any preference for the animal offerings that Abel brought. While the Torah prohibits sacrificing animal with the slightest blemishes: ‘’Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scabbed, or scurvy, you shall not offer these unto the Lord’’ (Lev. 22:22), no such disqualifications are attached anywhere to the plant or grain offering; these simply cannot be disqualified from the altar. But even more significantly, while the animal-sacrificing person independently slaughters it outside the Tent of Meeting before conceding the slain animal to the Kohen (priest) to continue for him the sacrificial protocol (i.e., ‘’bring forward the blood and cast the blood round the altar’’ 1:5), the person bringing an offering from the produce of the soil may himself pour on the flour the requisite oil and frankincense before conceding his gift to the Kohen.
In other words, his involvement with the sacrifice is more elaborate than for the one who chose an animal as his offering. This is a significant idea because it renders the bringer of flour as more pro-actively involved in the service of God, and with less reliance on the Kohen as a go-between the person and God. Moreover, while only folks of means could afford an animal for an offering, bringing choice flour enabled poor folks to participate in this major ceremonious ritual. The veggie option democratized the sacrificial system enabling the poor a sense of closeness to the divine as well; the Hebrew word for a sacrifice, korban, connotes nearness.
Indeed, the Rabbis note that the Torah calls the bringer of flour offering a “soul” (nefesh), while calling the one who brings an animal offering “a man (“adam”). For the Rabbis that meant that in bringing flour as a gift to God, the poor person brings it soulfully, since that was all that he could afford, even if the person sacrificing an animal spent more money for his gift but might have done so only by rote.
Hence the Talmud teaches that as long as one’s full attention is given to Heaven the size or material value of the offering isn’t that important. The poor might still view his gift as inconsequential, but for Heaven it is huge. Thus the Rabbinic teaching that when you do a favor to someone else let it be seen in your eyes as of little value. But when another does you a small favor, see it as a huge gesture of goodwill.
When the tourist asked the local in a popular story why he cared so much about throwing back into the sea washed-ashore starfish, for there were thousands of them that he would never be able to help, thus meaning to say that his noble efforts still made no real difference for those other starfish, the local bent low and heaved another starfish into the water retorting: ‘’It sure made a difference for this one’’. Why, it is the small deeds — a small check for a worthy cause, a short good word or consolation to the one who needs it, a brief visit or a friendly phone call to the ill or shut-in that always moves the world forwards.
Rabbi Dr. Yossi Feintuch was born in Afula and holds a Ph.D. in American history from Emory University in Atlanta. He taught American history at Ben-Gurion University.
Author of the book US Policy on Jerusalem (JCCO).
He now serves as rabbi at the Jewish Center in central Oregon. (JCCO).
New: Pre-register for the COVID-19 Vaccine
Deschutes County and St. Charles Health System are launching a new pre-registration system for residents to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the mass vaccination clinic.
After you pre-register, we’ll contact you to schedule an appointment when you are eligible and vaccine supply is available. Appointments will be scheduled based on Oregon Health Authority eligibility criteria.
How do I pre-register? Sign up online at www.centraloregoncovidvaccine.com. Residents who are unable to pre-register online can call (541) 699-5109 for assistance. Staff are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends. Please be prepared to wait on hold or call back as this line is experiencing high call volumes.
What happens after I pre-register? If you pre-register online, you will be contacted by email or text with a link to schedule your vaccine appointment when you are eligible and a dose is available for you. The email will come from donotreply. Individuals who pre-register by phone will receive a call to schedule their vaccine appointment when a vaccine is available for them. Registration links cannot be shared and will expire after 48 hours.
How will appointments be scheduled? Scheduling will follow Oregon Health Authority eligibility criteria by group.
When will you start scheduling appointments for people who complete the pre-registration process? The first sets of invitations to book appointments are expected to go out on Monday, March 22.
What if I have already filled out the Deschutes County Vaccine Interest Form? Please complete the vaccine pre-registration form. The pre-registration form will allow us to send you a link for your appointment. Deschutes County will continue sharing vaccine updates with residents who have signed up for the Deschutes County Vaccine Interest Form.
Some retail pharmacies in Central Oregon are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible groups through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. There will not be enough vaccines to vaccinate all eligible Oregonians at these locations due to the limited supply. Appointment availability changes frequently. Appointments may be available by visiting https://vaccinefinder.org.
Bi-Mart pharmacies in Central Oregon will offer limited appointments to eligible residents. For information about appointments and scheduling, visit the Bi-Mart scheduling portal.
The Exodus– Reality or Illusion?
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Meeting ID: 894 1809 6204
And…Don’t forget that Passover begins next Saturday!
Virtual Seder with Shalom Bayit begins at 6 pm pst
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Meeting ID: 862 3120 6737
”Purge” your chametz (leavened goods) and other non-perishable, non-expired foodstuffs (please no explicitly non-kosher items like shellfish and pork products) as you do your Passover/spring cleaning AND help those facing food insecurity.
When: Sunday, March 21st
What time: At your convenience– we’ll have baskets and/or bins outside the synagogue door for your donations. Rabbi Yossi will be collecting our ‘harvest’ at 5 pmish.
Where will it go?: Neighborimpact Food Pantry
Out of town? Gluten-free? Not a hoarder?
You can do a "spiritual" cleaning of chametz!
"And yet there is another type of chametz in our lives: the spiritual chametz. This chametz is that which causes our egos to inflate and our sense of self-worth and self-importance to rise to unhealthy levels.It is the chametz that keeps us enslaved spiritually to the material trappings of our lives and prevents us from being free to encounter the world in a spiritual manner. And just as we clean our home to rid ourselves of bread, cake and other leavened food, it is through this process of removing the spiritual chametz that we have the ability at our Passover seder to open up to those around us, appreciate the gifts we have and truly understand the meaning of the matzah, the bread of affliction, which reminds us each year to flatten ourselves and our egos as we attempt to encounter the world in a holy way and celebrate our freedom." Rabbi Jordan M. Ottenstein, senior rabbi of Congregation Dor Tamid in Johns Creek.
or write a check or go online and make a donation to Neighborimpact
or fill out this form and mail it: www.neighborimpact.org
NeighborImpact Attn: Suzette Chapman, Director of Development 2303 SW First St Redmond, Oregon 97756
Links to guides for chametz cleaning and Passover eating guidelines:
Don’t forget to connect with Alice to get a copy of the Haggadah we will be using for our "Virtual Seder" on March 27th, The First Night of Passover!
Call Alice at 541-668-6887 or email her at Secretary
CONGREGATION SHALOM BAYIT/JCCO BEND