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Inspirational Moment from Hazan Benlolo

07/22/2021 11:17:32 AM


Recording Studio / Lounge UPDATE

07/22/2021 11:05:07 AM


Haftarah Devarim

07/15/2021 12:14:50 PM


The Shabbat before Tisha B’Av, is called Shabbat Chazon – the Shabbat of foretelling – as we read the Haftarah portion from the prophecy of Isaiah (1:1-27), as the final of the “three of affliction,” readings.
Rabbi Mendel Hirsch points out, the prophet does not lament because the Bet HaMikdash (The Temple in Jerusalem) was destroyed; rather he laments over the underlying causes of that destruction.
This annual lesson must serve to focus the national mourning of Tisha B’Av not to the past, but to the present.

It is not enough to bemoan the great loss suffered by our people with the destruction of our Land, our Holy City, and our Holy Temple. We must use our mourning as a way of initiating an examination of our present-day feelings, thoughts and deeds.

What have we done to eliminate the attitudes and practices that thousands of years ago sent our ancestors into exile – not once, but twice?

How have we improved our approach to the divine service as a way of life, a life devoted to duty rather that a substitute for it?

Are our verbal offerings, like the animal-offerings described by the prophet merely perfunctorily performed rituals, never internalized, never spoken from the heart, just from the lips and outward?

And, as Rabbi Hirsch puts it, “is our Jewish contemporary present already so deeply imbued with the Jewish spirit, so filled with the Jewish way of thinking, with knowledge of the all-comprising and deep contents of the torah that it could form a worthy environment for a temple of G-d to be erected in our midst? does not the gulf between Israel and its G-d yawn perhaps wider than ever?”

Adapted from the commentary found in the Artscroll Stone Chumash.

S&P Recording Studio / Lounge Update

07/13/2021 09:20:15 AM


Haftarah Matot-Masei

07/06/2021 02:30:55 PM


with Charly-Marc Hadid

This week’s Haftarah is the second of a series of three “haftarot of affliction.” These three haftarot are read during the Three Weeks of mourning for Jerusalem, between the fasts of 17 Tammuz and 9 Av.

The prophet Jeremiah transmits G‑d’s message to the Jewish people, in strong tones chastising all the sectors of the people, including the leadership, for their abandonment of G‑d. “What wrong did your forefathers find in Me, that they distanced themselves from Me, and they went after futility and themselves became futile?” He reminds them of the kindness G‑d did for them, taking them out of Egypt and leading them through the desert and settling them in the Promised Land, yet they repaid kindness with disloyalty. “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the spring of living waters, [and furthermore, this was in order] to dig for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that do not hold water.”

Jeremiah then goes on to foretell the suffering the Jewish people will suffer at the hands of their enemies, and also their allies: “Your evil will chastise you, and you will be rebuked for your backslidings; and you shall know and see that your forsaking the L‑rd your G‑d is evil and bitter.”

The Haftarah ends on an encouraging note, assuring the people that if they return to G‑d with sincerity, they will be restored to their full glory.

Haftarah Pinhas

07/06/2021 02:28:50 PM


This week’s haftarah begins a series of three haftarot known in halachic literature as telata depur’anuta, “the three (haftarot) of retribution.” We read these haftarot during the three-week period between the seventeenth of Tammuz and the ninth of Av—the time when we mourn the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jewish people. These readings are taken from three passages where the prophets warn the Jews of the looming destruction and the terrible suffering that will follow, and implore the people to mend their ways and avoid this tragedy.

The first of these haftarot is taken from the opening chapter of Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived through the destruction, and was its primary prophet.

Haftarah Pinhas

06/29/2021 09:12:16 AM


This week’s haftarah begins a series of three haftarot known in halachic literature as telata depur’anuta, “the three (haftarot) of retribution.” We read these haftarot during the three-week period between the seventeenth of Tammuz and the ninth of Av—the time when we mourn the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jewish people. These readings are taken from three passages where the prophets warn the Jews of the looming destruction and the terrible suffering that will follow, and implore the people to mend their ways and avoid this tragedy.

The first of these haftarot is taken from the opening chapter of Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived through the destruction, and was its primary prophet.

Haftarah Balak

06/23/2021 10:25:48 AM


This week's haftarah makes mention of the incident of Balak the king of Moab hiring the sorcerer Balaam to curse the Jewish people — the main topic of this week's Torah reading.

The prophet Micah prophesied about what will occur after the war of Gog and Magog, the war which precedes the coming of the Messiah and the Final Redemption.

"And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples — like dew sent by G‑d, like torrents of rain upon vegetation that does not hope for any man and does not wait for the sons of men." The prophet describes how G‑d will remove the idols and sorcerers and how He will destroy the Jews' enemies.

The prophet Micah then goes on to rebuke the Jewish people for not observing G‑d's commandments, calling as witness the "mountains and hills" — a reference to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs — and reminding them of the great things G‑d had done for them. He took them out of Egypt and replaced the curses that Balaam son of Beor wanted to utter against them with blessings.

The Jewish people respond by saying that they do not know how to serve G‑d and ask for guidance. The prophet reminds them of the Torah, and that all they need to do is contained within it: "He has told you, O man, what is good, and what G‑d demands of you: but to do justice, love kindness, and walk discreetly with your G‑d."

Haftarah Hukat

06/16/2021 10:32:58 AM


This week's haftarah describes how the people of Israel were attacked by the nation of Ammon. The Israelites engaged Jephtah to lead them in battle against this military threat. Jephtah first sent a missive to Ammon, declaring his peaceful intentions. In his message, he also discussed the Israelites' conquest of the lands of Sichon and Og, victories which are related in this week's Torah reading. 

Jephtah the Gileadite was the son of a harlot. He was sent away from his home by his half-siblings, and settled in the land of Tob where he became a great warrior. When the nation of Ammon attacked the people of Israel, Jephtah was called upon to lead the Israelites in battle. Jephtah agreed, on one condition: "If you bring me back to fight with the children of Ammon, and G‑d delivers them before me, I will become your head." The Israelites accepted his terms.

Jepthah tried to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict by sending messengers to reason with the king of Ammon; but the latter remained inflexible. Jephtah then successfully led his countrymen in battle, and they trounced and eliminated the Ammonite threat.

Haftarah Kroah

06/10/2021 10:31:52 AM


Sponsored by: Isaac Sadaka, in memory of his wife, Badriya Sadaka z'l.

The prophet Samuel (a descendant of Korach, the protagonist of this week's Torah portion) gathers the Jews to firmly install Saul as king of Israel. During the course of his address to the Jews he called out, "Here I am; bear witness against me before G‑d and before His anointed; whose ox did I take, or whose donkey did I take, or whom did I rob; or whom did I oppress, or from whose hand did I take a bribe..." This echoes Moses' statement in this week's Torah reading: "I have not taken a donkey from a single one of them, and I have not harmed a single one of them."

The nation gathers at Gilgal for a second coronation of King Saul—the first one having lacked a convincing consensus. They offer sacrifices and rejoice together. The prophet Samuel then delivers a talk: he asks the people to testify that he never committed crimes against the people, and they confirm. He discusses how G‑d saved and aided them every step of the way and chastises them for wanting a flesh and blood king. He assures them that G‑d will be with them if they follow in His ways, and of the consequences they will face if they do not follow G‑d's word.

To underscore the seriousness of his words, Samuel asks G‑d to send a thunderstorm, although it was not the rainy season. The Jewish people got the message and asked Samuel to intercede on their behalf and to have the thunderstorm cease. The haftarah ends with a reassurance: "For G‑d will not forsake His people for His great name's sake; for G‑d has sworn to make you a people for Himself."

Haftarah Shelah 

06/03/2021 09:19:04 AM


This week's haftarah tells the story of the spies that Joshua sent to scout the city of Jericho, prior to the Israelites' invasion of the Holy Land, a point in common with this week's Torah reading, which discusses the twelve spies that were sent by Moses years earlier to explore the Holy Land.

Joshua sent two spies to Jericho, where they lodged at an inn located in the city's walls, operated by a woman named Rahab. Their presence was quickly discovered by the king who sent for Rahab and asked her to turn in her guests. Rahab responded that her guests had already left the city — when actually she had hidden them on her rooftop.

"And she said to the men, I know that G‑d has given you the land, and that your terror has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away because of you. For we have heard how G‑d dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you completely destroyed."

At Rahab's request, the two spies assured her that she and her family would not be harmed during the conquest of Jericho—provided that she would tie a scarlet thread and hang it from her window. This would be a symbol that this home is a safe haven. Rahab helped the men escape via a rope she lowered from her window and told them how to hide from possible pursuers. The spies escaped safely and returned to report to Joshua.

Haftarah Bechaalotecha

05/26/2021 02:54:09 PM


This haftarah contains a vision of the golden Temple Menorah, whose daily kindling is discussed in the opening of this week's Torah reading.

This prophecy was communicated by Zechariah shortly before the building of the Second Temple. The haftarah opens with a vivid depiction of the joy that will prevail when G‑d will return to Jerusalem: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, behold! I will come and dwell in your midst, says the L-rd."

The prophet then describes a scene in the Heavenly Court: Satan was seeking to incriminate Joshua, the first High Priest to serve in the Second Temple, because of the "soiled garments" (i.e. sins) he was wearing. G‑d himself defends the High Priest: "And the Lord said to Satan: The Lord shall rebuke you, O Satan; the Lord who chose Jerusalem shall rebuke you. Is [Joshua] not a brand plucked from fire?" I.e., how dare Satan prosecute an individual who endured the hardships of exile? "And He raised His voice and said to those standing before him, saying, 'Take the filthy garments off him.' And He said to him, 'See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I have clad you with clean garments.'"

G‑d then proceeds to outline the rewards awaiting Joshua if he and his descendents follow G‑d's ways. The ultimate reward is, "Behold! I will bring My servant, the Shoot, " an allusion to Moshiach, the Shoot of David.

Zechariah then describes a vision of a golden seven-branched Menorah. An angel interprets the meaning of this vision: "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [descendent of King David, one of the protagonists in the building of the Second Temple], 'Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,' says the Lord of Hosts." Meaning that Zerubbabel's descendent, Moshiach, will have no difficulty in his task, it will be as simple as lighting a menorah

Torah Reading - Parashat Nasso

05/20/2021 02:40:34 PM


Recorded Live

Haftarah Bamidbar

05/13/2021 02:11:31 PM


Sponsored by: Yossi Suissa and family 
In memory of his mother Izza Suissa z'l.

This week's Haftarah begins with the words, "The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea [shore], which can be neither measured nor counted." An appropriate reading for the first Torah reading of the Book of Numbers.

Hosea first prophesies about the eventual reunification of the houses of Judah and Israel. During the Messianic Era, these two perennial antagonists will make peace and appoint a single leader. Hosea then rebukes the Jewish people for their infidelity, abandoning their "husband," G‑d, and engaging in adulterous affairs with pagan deities. He describes the punishments they will suffer because of this unfaithfulness.

Eventually, though, Hosea reassures the Jews that they will repent, and G‑d will accept them back wholeheartedly. The Haftarah concludes with the moving words: "And I will betroth you to Me forever, and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness and with justice and with loving-kindness and with mercy." 


05/13/2021 01:14:32 PM


What is Yizkor?

Yizkor means "remembrance" in Hebrew and most commonly refers to memorial prayer services held four times a year during Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot. Jewish people believe in the eternity of the soul. It is common belief that by saying Yizkor, remembering a loved one and giving charity in a loved one's name helps his or her soul gain merit from our good deeds. Reciting Yizkor may also serve as a very important and reflective time for individuals honoring and commemorating loved ones. 

"Anything that's Part of You"

05/10/2021 03:06:36 PM


An Elvis Song

Interpreted by Hazan Daniel Benlolo

Haftarah Behar-Behukotai

05/06/2021 03:44:56 PM


Sponsored by: Yossi Suissa and family 
In memory of his mother Izza Suissa z'l.

In the haftarah for Parashat Bechukotai (also read when Behar and Bechukotai are combined as a double portion) Jeremiah prophesizes on several themes in a relatively short span. Many scholars, responding to the discontinuous nature of this section of Jeremiah, suggest that it might be a collection of sayings culled from Jeremiah’s notes by his assistant Baruch.

The haftarah begins with a brief section in which Jeremiah discusses how God is always present for him. Those who turn to idols or “no-gods” (19:20) will ultimately be taught the power of the Lord.

Then Jeremiah indicts the people of Israel for their sins and warns them that they will be punished with losing their inherited land. He transitions from a discussion of land to a metaphor involving trees. A man who trusts only other men is cursed, like a bush in the desert, Jeremiah explains, never seeing when good comes and dwelling in isolation. A man who lives with trust in God is blessed like a tree planted by waters, its roots reaching a river, its leaves evergreen, its branches producing endless fruit.

Jeremiah also reminds the people that the human heart is deceitful, but God knows its ways and He will punish those who acquire wealth unjustly. The haftarah concludes with a short prayer for healing; an adapted version of this prayer is now incorporated into the weekday Amidah. Jeremiah’s prayer for healing actually continues as a longer prayer for the destruction of his enemies, but it was truncated in order for the haftarah to end on a positive note.

Haftarah Emor

04/29/2021 11:34:16 AM


Sponsored by: Raphael Lallouz and family
In memory of his father Yosef ben Raphael Lallouz z'l.

In the haftarah for Parashat Emor Ezekiel prophesies about the rules for the priests that will serve in the Third Temple, to be built at an unspecified, apocalyptic future date. He specifies that the priests must wear specific garments, and are commanded to keep their hair cut neatly. They cannot drink wine while they are performing their priestly duties, and they are prohibited from marrying women who are divorced or widowed (unless the widow was originally married to a priest).

The priests Ezekiel describes are charged with teaching the people of Israel about what is sacred and what is profane, what is pure and what is impure. They act as judges for the people, ruling according to the Torah. They are prohibited from going near a corpse unless it is the body of a person in their immediate families.

Finally, G-d stipulates that the priests should not be given a portion of the land in Israel. God is their portion, and they partake of the sacrifices, and benefit from some of the tithes.

Haftarah Kedoshim

04/22/2021 12:35:19 PM


Sponsored by:Sponsored by: Chantal Brahmi & Family, in memory of,
Amanda Alisaa Blondon z"l and Anna Elofer z"l.

This week's haftarah mentions G‑d's repeated enjoinders to observe the commandments, keep the Shabbat and eschew idol worship; reflective of this week's Torah portion, which discusses many commandments, including the obligation to sanctify the Shabbat and reject idolatry.

The prophet Ezekiel transmitted G‑d's message, reminding the Jews how He chose them as His nation, how He took them out of Egypt and promised to take them to the Holy Land. In Egypt, G‑d dispatched a prophet who exhorted the Jews to abandon their idols, yet they did not do so. He then gave them laws and statutes, including that of the observance of Shabbat as a sign between Him and His people. "But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My ordinances, which, if a man keep, he will live through them, and My Sabbaths they desecrated exceedingly."

The prophet goes on to mention G‑d's punishment of the Jews in the desert, namely that they did not enter the Holy Land. He then admonishes the children not to follow their fathers' ways, but to observe the laws and to sanctify the Shabbat.

Haftarah Metzora

04/14/2021 12:44:26 PM


Sponsored by: Lilian Bergel, in memory of her father, Moshe Grinberg z"l.

This week's haftarah discusses the story of four men stricken by tzara'at, a skin ailment caused by sins — one of the main topics of this week's Torah reading.

Haftarah's backdrop: King Ben-Hadad of Aram besieged Samaria (the Northern Kingdom of Israel). The resulting famine was catastrophic, reducing many to cannibalism. King Jehoram of Israel wanted to execute the prophet Elisha, considering that his prayers could have prevented the entire tragedy. Elisha reassured the king: "So has G‑d said, 'At this time tomorrow, a seah of fine flour will sell for [merely] a shekel, and two seahs of barley will sell for a shekel in the gate of Samaria.'" One of the king's officers present scoffed at the prophecy: "Behold, if G‑d makes windows in the sky, will this thing come about?" Elisha responded, "Behold, you will see with your own eyes, but you shall not eat there from."

Now, four men suffering from tzara'at dwelled in quarantine outside the city. They too were hungry, victims of the famine. They decided to approach the enemy camp to beg for food. They arrived only to find a deserted camp. For "G‑d had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots and the sound of horses, the sound of a great army. And they said to one another, 'Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us.'" The entire enemy army fled, leaving behind their tents, horses, donkeys and provisions.

The four men went to the city and reported their findings to the gatekeepers who, in turn, informed King Jehoram. Though originally thinking that this was an ambush planned by the enemy, the king sent messengers who confirmed the miracle. The people swarmed out of the city and looted the enemy camp, thus breaking the famine and fulfilling Elisha's prophecy.

One step closer!

04/14/2021 11:52:13 AM



Up Close & Personal

04/13/2021 09:28:57 AM


Introducing: Mayer Sasson

Mayer Sasson is a Sephardic Jew and is a descendant  from a very old Sephardic family with very long old roots going back all the way to the original first Sasson Family in Hong Kong of whose ancestors were Marranos from Spain.

Mayer Sasson remembers with great happiness and pride his Bar Mitzvah like only yesterday,  at the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, in May 1976 and has been member of the Maghen Abraham since 1980, becoming its President several years ago, having brought many new and innovative ideas along with him having brought huge successes to his Maghen Abraham Synagogue, his Kahal, as well as his community.

Mayer Sasson is also a specialist in Dutch, German and Flemish Golden Age Old Master Paintings, Etchings, Prints, Drawings and woodcuts from the 15th-17th Century as well as an accomplished concert pianist specializing as well as anchored mainly in Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin over 40 years having successfully played the Bach D Minor Piano Concerto (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis 1052) at 17 years of age, earning him the prized LAUREAT DIPLOMA after having secured the Intermediary as well as Superior Diplomas at the E.M.S.L. in 1980.

Mayer Sasson is presently studying with  Professor Pinchas ANTAL (McGill University), and studying Orchestral and Operatic Conducting with Austrian Conductor, Professor Alexis HAUSER  (McGill University).

Mayer is married to Mortgage Broker Muriel Benisti-Sasson since 1991 and is father to the prominent Speech-Language Pathologist Michelle Sasson. As well as father to Daniela and Solomon Sasson.

Haftarah Shemini

04/07/2021 12:46:31 PM


Thank you to Marc and Gloria Kakon,
for their generous donation towards the recording studio.

This week's haftarah mentions how Uzzah was struck dead when he disrespectfully touched the Ark of the Covenant; reminiscent of Nadab and Abihu's death described in this week's Torah reading.

The Holy Ark had been in storage in the house of Avinadav for many years, ever since the destruction of the Tabernacle in Shiloh. Recently crowned King David decided to move the Ark to the new capital, Jerusalem. He had the Ark placed on a cart and it was transported amidst singing and dancing. When the procession reached Goren Nachon, the oxen misstepped and Uzzah, Avinadav's son, took hold of the Ark to steady it—whereupon he was instantly killed.  David was devastated, and he temporarily placed the Ark in the home of Oved-edom the Edomite, where it remained for three months.

"And it was told to King David saying: 'G‑d has blessed the house of Oved-edom, and all that belongs to him, because of the Ark of G‑d.' And David went and brought up the ark of G‑d from the house of Oved-edom into the City of David with joy." The Ark was brought up to the city of David with great singing and dancing. David then blessed and distributed presents to all the assembled Israelites.


04/06/2021 09:56:13 AM


Hazan Daniel Benlolo

When Passover ends, Moroccan Jews do not quietly unpack their chametz.  Instead, they celebrate the Mimouna.   This joyous festival is believed to have originated in Fez, Morocco, although it is unclear exactly when. The festivities begin at nightfall...Read more...

S&P Recording Studio

04/06/2021 09:55:06 AM


We are super excited to announce the creation of the S&P Recording Studio, a first in Montreal housed right here in our own Synagogue.  This new initiative will enable us to offer our community a real “Music Hub.” This project was made possible with the generous donation from Marc and Nicole Ezerzer will finally give flight to the Spanish and Portuguese Music Heritage and Preservation Project, a venture close to...Read more...

Mon, July 26 2021 17 Av 5781