With the last two parashot of B’midar, we conclude the first four books of Torah. The second law of Torah (Devarim Mishneh Torah), which we call Devarim and the Latin name, Deuteronomy, which means the same thing, begins the concluding section of Torah. Mishneh Torah means that this final book is a ‘Copy’ of the contract made between God and the Jewish people at Sinai, and is “renewed again,” according to R. Jonathan Sacks, as “the written record of the agreement.” The children of Israel await on the Plains of Moab for the crossing over the Jordan into the Promised Land. The journey from Kadesh-Barnea to the Plains of Moab should have taken 11 days according to God’s original plan; instead it took 38 years which is clearly explained in B’midbar.
And so, the last two Parashot, Mattot-Mas’ei, bring us to and prepare us for this momentous point in time of the religious history of the Jewish people. The books in the Tanakh which follow Devarim, comment on what happened subsequent to the crossing over the Jordan.
The final two Parashot in B’midbar, wrap up the proclamations for the Jewish calendar and secular obligations set down in PInchas which we discussed at the last Shabbat service: the obligation of women who inherit property to marry within their clan, the war against the Midians and the moral obligations upon the victors in dealing with captives, the settlement in the Transjordan, the listing of important place-names to highlight the power of God and His divine intervention at the various places of encampment along the 38-year journey when the children of Israel rose and fell, slipped and redeemed themselves time and time again.
This Shabbat parsha, then, is a dramatic and poignant point in Torah; we have finally arrived to begin to manifest the Divine plan God has laid out for us. Will we slip? Will we fall? Will we be worthy of inheriting the land which God promised us all those generations ago to Abraham? Will we listen to Moses’ final discourses and acquire the spiritual strength to begin the conquering and settlement of Eretz Yisrael? Will we become a ‘nation of priests’? Tune in and listen to Pat this coming Shabbat to find out what our prospects are.
At the last service, we left the children of Israel on the Plains of Moab overlooking the Jordan after their monumental 40 year journey from Egypt into the wilderness and their arduous struggle to reach the Transjordan. Generations have died off; as they settle here, the ups and downs of their final months of camping out before Joshua leads them into the Promised Land is about to be narrated in the final few chapters of B’Midbar. The wonderful story of Balaam and his ass takes place, and to tell the truth, the ass, operating on much higher moral ground than either Balaam or the Israelites at times, must set the example. But, because God is in control, as Balaam looks down upon the Israelite encampment, he utters the famous lines which begin most of our Shabbat services: How good are you tents O Jacob! But are they? For this maybe God’s story and plan being enacted, but the children of Israel seem unable to allow the rest of the narrative to go without a hitch. No sooner do they settle in, than the temptations of Moabite women and false gods enter the picture. Again! This, of course, leads us to the next series of conflicts when another heroic figure in our history, Pinchas, must try to save the day. To learn more about the whys and wherefores, another heroic figure, our own Adam Feldman, will be on hand to let you know the details at this next Shabbat service. Be there!
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his wife, Valerie, paid a visit to the Penzance Jewish Cemetery early in the day on Friday, 15 June whilst they were on holiday in Cornwall for a few days. They were welcomed by Ms. Louise Connell, Director of the Penlee Gallery and Museum, and Leslie and Pat Lipert from Kehillat Kernow.
They were shown around the cemetery and learned some interesting facts about the historic cemetery and some of the people who are buried there. As a gesture of hospitality and sincere welcome, Leslie Lipert, treasurer of Kehillat Kernow and The Friends of Penzance Cemetery, presented the Chief Rabbi with the community’s signature Mezzuzah with its Cornish and religious symbolism.
The visit, done in a private capacity, was part of the many interesting sites the couple visited whilst on their holiday in Cornwall.
Members of Kehillat Kernow welcomed members of their extended family, Hannah and David Jacobs to Friday night services and dinner at Estelle Moses’ house on Friday the 28th when the couple travelled from their home in London to be with our community for the weekend.
Associated with KK since its inception, David and Hannah have guided our community loyally through the years. Friday night was a sumptuous affair due to Estelle’s special flair for creating ambiance and marvellous food. David conducted the special Friday night service prior to the meal.
On Saturday, Shabbat Emor, David and Pat Lipert conducted the Shabbat service. Following a bountiful Kiddush, Hannah then led us in a discussion of the history of anti-Semitism since Biblical days up to the current state of affairs in Britain.
Chairman Jeremy Jacobson welcomed and thanked this much loved couple for working so hard to provide a very meaningful Shabbat for all our members.
Many thanks to Estelle (and Charlie), who made a huge effort to provide the community with such a special Friday night.
To see photos of Friday Night click here.
To see photos of the Saturday Service click here.
The first night of Passover and Shabbat were celebrated with gusto on Friday, the 30th of March, at The Barn in Trelissick Gardens in Feock by members of Kehillat Kernow and many visitors from around the world and greater England.
It was more than sufficient and an exuberant first night of Seder from start to finish.
Beginning with the lighting of the Shabbat and Yom Tov candles, the welcoming words from Chairman Jeremy Jacobson, the leading of the Haggadah reading with Life President Harvey Kurzfield, the four questions delivered by our children, to the after dinner service led by Adam Feldman, KK Vice Chairman, it is no wonder that our Pesach celebration is so popular.
It was a night to remember our past, a time to rejoice in all we have, and a hope for a safe, auspicious new year.
Many thanks to Anne Hearle who organises our first night of Pesach along with her family, David, Noah, Leah and Elisha to perfection, to all the chefs who catered to everyone’s needs, to our service leaders, Harvey and Adam and to Jeremy and Leslie Lipert who see to so many of the necessary details.
Hag Sameach! Next Year in Jerusalem and Cornwall!
To see pictures click here.