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Korach, Numbers 16:1 - 18:32 - Parshat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, June 27, 2020
What makes a leader legitimate?
Read last week's commentary
This week’s Torah portion, Koarch, examines this question through the examples of Moses of Korach. In Numbers 12:3 Moses is described as, “a very humble man, more so than any other man on earth.”
Commenting on this verse, Ibn Ezra (13th Century Spain) wrote, “Moses never asked for recognition, nor reward.” He accepted the burden of leadership because God told him to. It was not a role he sought. In fact, he did everything he could to avoid it in the beginning.
Korach on the other hand desires power. Of Korach, Ibn Ezra wrote, “As Korach was angry about the appointment of Elitzafan to leadership. He was also envious of Aharon,” Korach is jealous and wants power, so he is willing to challenge Moses.
Korach pretends to care about the needs of the people, but he wants power for its own sake. Moses did not want power, but he serves the people.
We would be wise to pay attention to those who wish to be our leaders. Do they want power for their own advancement, or do they truly wish to serve? The motive makes all the difference.
From the President
Two years. A lot has happened in two years.
Two years ago I was honored with the presidency of Temple Beth Hillel. I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I sure did not know what was going to happen.
I will say this first and I will say this last. Thank you.
Thank you for the honor, thank you for the support, thank you for the criticism, thank you for the joy and thank you for the challenges. Thank you for the growth and thank you for the losses.
I never made any secret of my desire to increase the social activism of our community. We have every reason to be proud of our participation in social justice issues like food insecurity and political activism. We have fed hungry families and we have spoken out against the separation of immigrant families.
We have stood with vulnerable minorities against those who hate, and the greater community has stood with us. We have spoken out against violence.
We have remained united in the face of increased anti-semitism and protested the parts of government that tolerate, if not actively support it.
We have cried together and we have laughed together.
It has been mentioned that I focus too much on the negative, that there has always been bigotry. That inspiration is more important. There is truth in that notion. But Judaism has many components. It is part faith, part culture (food!), and part commitment to others. We have varying degrees of alignment to each pillar - halachah, avodah, and tikkun olam. Our strength as a community comes from the diversity we are made of.
Yes there is evil in the world, and it is important to call it out. But there is also the magic, the love, among those of us who work together to create a world more in line with Torah.
Temple Beth Hillel does this.
We are what we do.
Shalom y’all. Thank you.
Read last week's letter
A Farewell to Arlene - Sunday, June 28, at 10:30 AM
The entire congregation is invited to meet in the TBH parking lot, masked and physically distanced by household, this Sunday, June 28th,10:30 AM, to share some love with Arlene. There will be a parting gift, possible singing, and definitely honking, shouting and even howling.
Let’s send her off to her next adventure with pandemic appropriate love. For more info call Marilyn 510-816-7885.
Join us for community Shabbat candle lighting this Friday, June 26 at 7:00 PM
Let’s begin Shabbat together by lighting Shabbat candles. Please join us at 7:00 In this way we can all be together in this time of physical isolation.
Calling All Members - Photos Needed
As most of you have likely seen over the years, we do an annual postcard with the dates of the holidays and celebrations for the Temple, highlighted and accented with photos from the past year of Temple events and members that represent our wonderful community. Check your cellphones and cameras for some wonderful moments that we can share. Please send your photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes from the Board, June 17, 2020
The board discussed reopening plans, a candidate for Office Manager, and more.
Notes from the General Membership Meeting, June 7, 2020
The proposed budget for 2020-2021 and a new slate of board members were approved. Special recognition to departing board members Jeff Romm and Sherri Tattenham, and to Volunteer of the Year Jean Henderson.