Wednesday, October 22 - 5:30 to 6:30 PM - Rabbi Narrowe's next series of classes begins tonight - The Origins of the Oral Law - We will read Maimonides' introduction to the Mishnah Torah where he outlines the history of the Oral Law according to Jewish tradition. This will include a greater understanding of the Mishnah and Gemarra (the Talmud) and their importance in Jewish tradition.
Wednesday, October 22 - 7 PM - Board Meeting.
Thursday, October 23 - 12 noon - Torah Thursday. Cycling through the entire content of the first five books of TaNaKH with a focus on Jewish commentary, both traditional and modern. This fall we will either be finishing up Leviticus or beginning Numbers. Brown Bag Lunch.
Friday, October 24 - 7 PM - Erev Shabbat Services followed by Oneg sponsored by the Sisterhood.
Saturday, October 25 - 9:30 AM - Shabbat Services and Torah Study, followed by Oneg sponsored by the Sisterhood.
Saturday, October 25 - 6:30 PM - Dinner & Movie night! Menschen dairy potluck dinner followed by movie at 7 PM. We will be watching Monuments Men, directed by George Clooney, and starring Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray. It tells the story of a special unit of soldiers during World War II, who tried to save priceless art treasures from being destroyed or looted by the Nazis. The movie got great reviews when it came out earlier this year, and now you can see it for free, during our Mt. Sinai movie night. Guests are very welcome.
Sunday, October 26 - 10 AM to 12 noon - Mt. Sinai Religious School
Sunday, October 26 - 1 to 3 PM - Jewish & Israeli Dancing. For more information please contact Mary Weinstein.
Tuesday, October 28 - 5:30 to 6:30 PM - Beginning Hebrew - An introduction to the consonants, vowels and sounds of Hebrew as Americans speak it. This is a 10 week course taught by Jeff Weinstein. Please purchase Aleph Isn't Tough by Linda Motzkin before the first class, if possible. Jeff has a couple of copies in case you cannot get it in time.
Tuesday, October 28 - 5:30 to 6:30 PM - Continuing Biblical/Liturgical Hebrew - For those who already know what Hebrew looks and sounds like, an exploration of grammar and vocabulary so that the TaNaKH and Siddur (prayer book) are easier to understand. Taught by Rabbi Larry Moldo.
Tuesday, October 28 - 6:35 to 7:35 PM - Introduction to Judaism - A survey class, quickly going through topics relating to Jewish history, the calendar, life cycle events, basic texts throughout the ages, theology and geography. Exact schedule of topics will be based on student needs. Taught by Rabbi Larry Moldo.
Tuesday, October 28 - 7:40 to 8:40 PM - Kabbalistic Thought - How did things get to be the way they are? How is it possible to reconcile a God who is completely unknowable and yet totally integrated into our reality? What might fixing the world mean? What might this have to do with my life? The Lurianic answers to these questions, and concepts like Sefirot and Tzimtzum will be briefly explored. This is a 10 week course, taught by Rabbi Larry Moldo.
Wednesday, October 29 - 5:30 to 6:30 PM - The Origins of the Oral Law - We will read Maimonides' introduction to the Mishnah Torah where he outlines the history of the Oral Law according to Jewish tradition. This will include a greater understanding of the Mishnah and Gemarra (the Talmud) and their importance in Jewish tradition. Taught by Rabbi Joshua Narrowe.
Wednesday, October 29 - 6:45 to 7:45 PM - The Five Megillot - A look at the Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther through several different lenses. Taught by Rabbi Larry Moldo.
Thursday, October 30 - 12 noon - Torah Thursday. Cycling through the entire content of the first five books of TaNaKH with a focus on Jewish commentary, both traditional and modern. This fall we will either be finishing up Leviticus or beginning Numbers. Brown Bag Lunch.
Thursday, October 30 - 5:30 to 6:30 PM - Informative Session about Interfaith Family Support Services (IFSS), Sunflower Room, Laramie County Public Library. Mt. Sinai is a support congregation for First United Methodist Church (FUMC). We provide dinners for homeless families being sheltered at FUMC. This is an opportunity to learn about this very important program. Please contact Phyllis Bloomberg for more information and if you would like to volunteer.
Friday, October 31 - 7 PM - Erev Shabbat Services followed by Oneg sponsored by the Sisterhood.
Saturday, November 1 - 9:30 AM - Shabbat Services and Torah Study followed by Oneg sponsored by the Sisterhood.
Sunday, November 2 - 1 to 3 PM - Jewish & Israeli Dancing. For more information please contact Mary Weinstein.
SAVE THE DATE!
Mt. Sinai Kugel Cookoff is scheduled for Sunday, November 23. More information to follow.
2 Sue Carlass
2 Hal Ginsburg
18 David Bloch
20 Dorothy Feldman
25 Mark Elliott
23 Ilaine Brown
24 Jaimee Sodosky
27 Helen Zigmond
28 Jeff Weinstein
31 Namaste Reid
Weekly Message from our Board President
October 20, 2014
What kind of food to you bring to a food drive? Basically anything that will last awhile. The Jim McKinnon Memorial Food Drive is underway and it only lasts this week. It’s named after Jim because the food drive was one of his passions, and he made the Synagogue look good with the amount of food he collected and donated. The food will be given to Needs, Inc.
So what kind of food should you donate? Canned goods, such as tuna, vegetables or fruits. Dried food, such as Hamburger Helper, spaghetti, and rice. And then things like peanut butter, jelly, soup, and cereals. If you want to donate caviar, that’s fine, but Needs is really looking for the basics. You can drop the food off any time this week, and Therese McKinnon will do a final collection at the movie night this coming Saturday.
Oh, did we mention the movie night? It starts at 6:30 Saturday night with a Menschen dinner open to all. Come hungry! It’s a dairy potluck, so bring your favorite dish to share. Then, once we’ve broken bread together and enjoyed the meal, we’ll sit back and watch “Monuments Men.” That’s the movie that came out earlier this year about the effort to save priceless works of art during World War II. It was directed by George Clooney and stars Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, and others.
The Board of Directors is holding a special meeting this coming Wednesday night. The Board will be meeting with members of the Mt. Synagogue Trust in a get-to-know-you session, and to compare notes on the work both groups are doing to build our Synagogue. The unusual joint meeting is Wednesday night at 7 and is open to members of our congregation.
Yes, we’re going to remind you about the upcoming Mt. Sinai Kugel Cookoff. It’s scheduled for Sunday, November 23 – the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The plan is to have you fill up on Kugel, and then eat nothing between Sunday and Thanksgiving. We’re not sure how well that will work….
Here’s our Yiddish Phrase of the Week:
Nit kain entfer iz oich an entfer.
No answer is also an answer.
Mt. Sinai Board of Directors
Rabbi Larry Moldo's Friday Night Sermon
(Doing my part ecologically, I hereby recycle an old sermon, delivered in a different town back in 2009.)
Shabbat Noach 5770
Friday night sermon
Every so often people ask me questions. A few of them relate to the Torah reading this week – How did those people live that long? Why did Noah have to send out birds? How long did the whole thing really last?
I may not actually answer any of those questions to your satisfaction, because tonight we’re going to go over the flood story in a scholarly kind of way.
There are many flood legends throughout the world. I’m going to focus on the few of them that seem to have something to do with the flood story in the Torah.
We don’t actually know if the version in the Torah is derived from the other versions, or if all of them are variations on a basic flood story. Most of what we know, we (I say we, but it’s really the scholars in the field who read fluent Akkadian and Hittite who actually “know” anything about the topic.) know on the basis of comparisons.
First of all, why a flood? In the Sumerian and Mesopotamian versions, it’s because the Gods couldn’t get enough sleep for all the noise people were making. It’s not that people were misbehaving, it’s that they were being a nuisance.
From the Gilgamesh Epic – the tasks of Utnapishtim
‘When the seventh day arrived, I brought out the dove and sent her forth, and the dove went and turned back; there was no resting-place, so she returned. I brought out the swallow and sent her forth, and the swallow went and turned back; there was no resting-place for her, so she returned.
From the Sumerian Epic
The flood continued to pour down for seven days and seven nights, and the ship moved along over the face of the great waters, driven by the winds; then the sun reappeared and shed its light on the heavens and the earth.
From the Hittites and Hurrians through a Greek lens:
After the death of Ardates, his son Xisuthros reigned for, 64,800 years. … The flood came, and when the waters ceased to rain down, Xisuthros sent forth several birds, and since the birds found no food or resting-place, they returned to the ship. After some days, he again sent out the birds, and they once more returned to the vessel, their feet being muddied. When he let them go a third time, they did not return to the boat.
There are 18 ways in which the flood story from the Torah is like the flood stories told in Mesopotamia. [note in 2014: at this point, I don’t know why the second point was deleted, unless it was already covered.]
1.The flood’s savior is always a member of the tenth generation.
(3) The age of the hero of the Flood. The Torah gives Noah’s age as 600 years at the time of the Flood; Ziusudra had reigned—before the Deluge, of course—ten šars, which came to 36,000 years, that is, 600 units of sixty years. Although Berossus states that Xisuthros had ruled 64,800 years, the witness of the original Sumerian document is sufficient to establish the ancient tradition.
(4) The fixing of the measurements of the ark or ship by divine command.
(5) The division of the ark or ship into various stories and rooms.
(6) The specific mention of the covering, the entrance and the window of the boat or ark.
(7) The use of pitch in fitting out the ark or ship. The noun כֹּפֶר kopher and the verb כָּפַר kaphar [to cover with pitch] are found nowhere else in Scripture.
(8) The predetermination of the time of the commencement of the Flood.
(9) An exact date, month and day being mentioned, is given for the beginning of the Deluge
(10) The animals came to Noah of their own accord; we are similarly told in the Epic of Atraóasis that Ea promised Atraóasis to send the animals to him.
(11) Specific reference to the closing of the entrance of the ark or boat at the beginning of the Flood.
(12) Specific mention of the opening of the window after the Deluge.
(13) Express reference to the removal of the covering after the Flood.
(14) The resting of the ark, and the grounding of the ship, in Armenia
(15) The specification of the kinds of birds that were sent forth: raven and dove, though in different order.
(16) In the Gilgameš Epic, the birds are sent out on the seventh day after the stranding of the vessel; similarly an interval of seven days elapses between one sending forth and another.
(17) In the Septuagint version the raven did not return, just as in the Epic of Gilgameš.
(18) Similarity of expressions in regard to the odour of the sacrifices.
As for the differences – most of them are obvious in terms of the nature of God, and then there’s
(7) The establishment of the Covenant for the good of mankind (Gen. ix 8–17) has no parallel in the Mesopotamian documents known to us so far.
For scholars who think there is only one story being presented, there are coincidences of numbers that don’t seem coincidental, The number seven is involved in 18 ways throughout the story and the number 12 is involved in 5 different ways – and 5 times 120 = 600, the age Noah was at the time of the flood.
In this section, just as in the preceding, numerical harmony is noticeable. The number seven, which, as we have seen, is the number of perfection, is mentioned explicitly in the text many times; periods of seven days (vii 4, 10; viii 10, 12); seven pairs of clean animals, and likewise of the birds of the air (vii 2–3); and if we count the number of times that God spoke to Noah, we shall find that they total exactly seven (vi 13; vii 1; viii 15; ix 1, 8, 12, 17). Similarly in the second paragraph, in connection with the construction of the ark, the stem צָשָׂה ’aśa [‘made’] occurs seven times; in paragraphs 3–5, in regard to the entrance into the ark, the stem בּוֹא bo [‘come’] is found seven times; the verb שׁחת šht, which appears, as I have stated, at the beginning and the end of the section, is used in all seven times; in the last two paragraphs, with reference to the covenant, the word covenant occurs seven times; the word water is employed twenty-one times— seven times three; the word flesh appears fourteen times—seven times two; Noah’s name, which occurs also in the continuation of the pericope, is found in the whole pericope thirty-five times— seven times five.
Apart from seven, the numbers appertaining to the sexagesimal system, which was in general use in the ancient East, also occupy an important place in the section. The age of Noah is expressly given as 600; in keeping with this numerical system are the twelve paragraphs, and the number of times the word flood occurs, to wit, twelve times in the whole pericope. So, too, the various categories of living creatures are detailed, in between two general expressions at the beginning and at the end (vi 19; ix 16), twelve times, phrased in twelve different ways, in accordance with the usual stylistic practice of the Bible in repetitions of this nature (vi 20; vii 2–3, 8, 14, 21, 23; viii 1, 17, 19, 20; ix 2, 10).
All these particular features, which are clearly discernible in the architectonic structure of the section and give it perfect harmony, are certainly not a chance phenomenon.
However, for those who like to find the differences, there are 5 specific textual variations, in addition to mere vocabulary hiccups, which can support that thesis. The best support I have seen, however, is that when you divide the story into the two separate components, you get two stories that make sense.
These number five:
(1) the creatures that were received into the ark comprised one pair of each species according to vi 19–20 and vii 15–16, but there were seven pairs of each kind of clean animal and bird according to vii 2–3;
(2) vii 11 states that the Deluge was formed by the confluence of the upper and lower waters, but vii 12 speaks of ordinary rain;
(3) in viii 9 we are told that the dove found no place to set foot, but earlier (v. 5) we learnt that the tops of the mountains were seen;
(4) according to viii 6–12 Noah endeavoured to determine by the means at his disposal whether it was possible for him to leave the ark, but according to viii 15–17 he was apprised of this by God;
(5) disparities between the various sets of chronological data.
One of the defenses against the “text is sewn together’ school is the following statement from a Biblical Scholar:
In other words, those creatures that felt an inner urge to come to Noah of their own accord in order to be received into the ark, and were permitted by Noah to enter (vi 19: You shall permit to enter [literally, ‘bring’]), comprised two of each kind, a pair. Apart from these, Noah was commanded to take additional pairs from his flocks and herds and the birds that he could catch, which he could use, for purposes of which we shall speak later, without endangering the existence of these species. Hence there is no contradiction here at all.
I know I didn’t really provide you with any answers. Hopefully I have given you some more food for thought, and perhaps some ammunition for some more questions. The kind of study we have engaged in tonight is called Torah Lishma – learning for the sake of learning. If we engage in it regularly, when we need to learn something in order to use it, it will be easier to find. Or at least we’ll have learned to be more patient when it isn’t.