Please note that service reminders aim to build a bridge between the last Saturday service two weeks before and the one being announced. They will therefore often focus on the previous parshah rather than on the one in the title.
Words, words, words… Devarim is full of these slippery, chameleon, shape-shifting creatures. Are they to be trusted? To encourage us to do just that, the last book of the Torah begins by situating itself very exactly in space and time: “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel on the east bank of the Jordan, in the desert, in the Aravah, near Suf, in the vicinity of Paran, Tofel, Lavan, Chatzeroth and Di Zahav… On the first of the eleventh month in the fortieth year, Moses also spoke to the Israelites regarding all that God had commanded them. This was after he had defeated Sichon, king of the Bashan, who lived in Ashatasroth…” And so it goes on. To fix Devarim even more securely, Moses proceeds to summarise the story so far. Here he is at his grandest. The simple yet unassuming authority with which he speaks makes the reader sit up attentively, as it must have made the Israelites stand and listen with the greatest alertness. Moses brings the narrative up to the present and begins to reach forward to the impending entry into the promised land.
Poor Moses. After forty years of leading the people, of guiding them, reasoning with them, pleading with them, and pleading with God on their behalf, he understandably pleads now on his own behalf to be allowed to cross the Jordan with the people he has done so much for and see the good land. Va-etchannan. But it is not to be. Yet Moses, straight and true, despite his profound disappointment, does not plead any longer or complain, but continues his work by beginning to remind the people of the lessons accumulated over forty years. “What nation is so great that they have such righteous rules and laws, like this entire Torah that I am presenting before you today?” The parshah proceeds to enumerate some of the laws and further to prepare for the history that lies ahead. There is so much – history and law that is. To get much more of a flavour than these few words can give, come along to the service at Three Bridges School on Saturday at 10.30. Pat Lipert will lead us.
“The arms of the Duchy are blazoned sable, fifteen bezants. These arms were designed in the 15th century, based on the arms of Richard, Earl of Cornwall (1209-1272). The bezants in Richard’s arms were intended to represent peas, known in French as pois, as a punning reference to the French region of Poitou, of which he was count.” – From Wikipedia
At the recent Seder, a good time was had by all, despite the absence of esteemed Newsletter Editor and stalwart Seder chef Pat Lipert, and Treasurer and general logistics wizard Leslie Lipert, who crossed the Atlantic to sample an American Pesach. The potential imbalance of populations was restored by the movement the other way of Rachel Brown’s parents , who travelled from New York to Cornwall to spend Pesach with daughter and grandchildren. Kehillat Kernow Chair Harvey Kurtzfield and Vice-Chair Adam Feldman led the service with great verve. The food was carefully and tastefully prepared by members of the community and the afikomen was found by Isaac Feldman, the last time he will qualify to take part in the search. Once again, we experienced the moving yet joyful story of the Exodus.