Was perhaps Spike Milligan supposed to represent a Nazirite when he emerged from a hole in the desert, jumping up and down, half naked, three-quarters mad and one whole funny in Monty Python’s Life of Brian?
The rules regarding the conduct of the Nazirite appear in this week’s sedra, which is jam-packed with other themes, including the prosecution of the woman accused by her husband of adultery. The trial by ordeal brings to mind ‘prosecution’ procedures used to identify witches or other supposed malefactors in mediaeval Europe. To return to the Nazirite, however, he (or she, for women can also assume the role) is a curious figure in Judaism. Once someone takes the vow, they become holy to God. This suggests that it is a virtuous act to take such a vow. However, the Nazirite must refrain from consuming wine, or indeed anything related to grapes. It is unusual in our religion to practice such self-denial. Indeed denying oneself totally the pleasures of life is seen as a wilful rejection of the gifts given us by God. The ascetic is a foreign concept in Judaism. Perhaps this is why the Nazirite vow was said by many rabbis to be limited to a period of thirty days.
One of the most interesting examples of a Nazirite is Samson, and part of his story is sometimes read as the Haftorah accompanying Naso. Some rabbis say he was physically strong but morally weak. I think, though, that he was a tragic figure. He must have had spiritual strengths, since it says that God blessed him and that he was moved by God’s spirit, but he did clearly, too, have a weakness. I remember listening to and reading his story as a child. It was easy to think that his hair possessed some kind of strength imparting magic. But the real reason he became powerless before his Philistine enemies is because he broke his Nazirite vows, drinking and allowing his hair to be cut. And how holy could he be under the thrall of a treacherous lover like Delilah? Like other tragic heroes he ended his life with a dramatic act that somehow restored his dignity and greatness.
Come along this Saturday at 10:30. Sharim Atilano will be leading us.
The largest Seder in KK history happened this year with 80 people attending the first night of Pesach at Trelssick Gardens in Feock, Truro.People came from near and afar to celebrate the traditional Haggadah service which highlights our Exodus from Egypt.
Masterly led by Vice-Chairman Adam Feldman, the first night of Seder was filled with song, prayer, meaningful and funny commentary throughout. Song, prayer, four cups of wine, a spectacular Mah Nishtana by our under 13’s, and much role playing by many members and visitors who attended made it a most lively and super Pesach.
Many thanks go to Chairman Jeremy Jacobson who welcomed and greeted all the guests in his very witty introductory remarks, to Harvey Kurzfield who officially passed over the service leadership to Adam, to Leslie Lipert who worked behind the scenes, to all the chefs who created a most spectacular seder meal, and most especially to Anne Hearle and her husband, David, who organised the entire festival.
Hag Sameach and enjoy your Matzah. You are commanded to do so. Never mind the crumbs
Photos of Pesach Sedar 5779
The Film/Food/Book/Fact Club met April 6th at Malpas Village Hall for another fantastic evening of good food, conviviality and discussion to view the film, ‘Disobedience,’ based on the book by the same title by Naomi Alderman.
Both the film and the book raised all kinds of avenues for discussion as both genres examined the impact of the death of the revered eminent Rabbi Krushka on the alternative lifestyles in the orthodox community of Hendon.Issues of freedom of choice verses tradition, various interpretations of Jewish law and how it could and should be practised, the physical and psychological impact of being raised in a strictly orthodox community and what constitutes happiness were all addressed through various central characters in depth and through stereotypical personages of stock Jewish members of a closed community:the gunzer machers, the movers and shakers, the academics, the variant family units, the frumers and the free spirits.
Many thanks to Adam and Melanie Feldman for arranging the venue, Jeremy Jacobson who provided the film, and to all those members and guests who helped with the ‘washing up’ to ensure that it was another fine, unmissable evening for the Film/Food/Book/Fact Club. If you haven’t attended one of these KK events, make sure you catch the next one!
Click here to view pictures taken on the night.
Spring is coming and, with it, one of the most wonderful festivals of the Jewish year: Pesach. It is fitting that, at the same time as the world around us begins again to burst into growth, we celebrate the throwing off of the bonds of slavery. We clean our houses, looking for chametz and in the process, sweep away the dust and crumbs at the back of drawers and cupboards, the grey cobwebs in the corners of our kitchens. Pesach is also a time to look inside our hearts and perhaps clear away a few dusty habits and modes of thought grown stiff with complacency. And it is a time to celebrate together the great gift of freedom and the coming together of the people of Israel in a shared covenant with God.
The first night of Pesach this year will be on Friday, 19 April and we will be celebrating it in grand style. There will be the traditional story, given new life by the ever fresh reading of our Honorary Life President Harvey Kurzfield and Deputy Chair Adam Feldman, the traditional seder plate, and a wonderful buffet lovingly cooked and prepared by some of the talented chefs of the community.
Our seder is a wonderful occasion for both children and adults. If you are visiting Cornwall during Pesach and wish to join us, please contact Anne Hearle for details.
One last thing. This year the seder begins on Erev Shabbat, so we will be lighting candles for both Shabbat and Yom Tov. Please bring with you your candlesticks, candles and kiddish cup. We will then have two mitzvot for the price of one, plus a beautiful seder table covered with joyous lights.
Envision Abraham sitting under the terebinth tree on the Plains of Mamre hosting the angels of God as they are about to reveal the future birth of Isaac. A seminal moment in Torah. In fact, Oak trees feature often in Torah which is why members of Kehillat Kernow planted an oak tree when they participated in a tree planting at the Dor Kemmyn site’s Field of Peace in Truro with other members of the Inter-Faith Forum on Sunday, the 24th of March.
The Buddist Community planted a lime tree nearby.Fifteen members of KK gathered around to watch David Hearle supervise and plant the oak tree with help for the digging process from KK members Adam Feldman and John Edelman.
At the ceremony, following a greeting from Rita Stephen of IFF, Chairman Jeremy Jacobson, noted how appropriate it was to plant symbols of life after previously just having delivered prayers and a speech of support for the Islamic Community at the ICC for those Muslims murdered recently while praying in their mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Jewish blessings for life, and a poem about an oak tree were recited by Pat Lipert and exerpts from our sidurm for TuBishvat were delivered by Adam Feldman.
The trees planted at the Dor Kemmyn site symbolise hope for the future, a belief in peace and most importantly, life, for it is the emphasis on life which is so integral to our Jewish religion.
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