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In Focus

2021-03-01 11:44:24 AM

Mar1

Keeping warm at the S&P

Dear friends,

I am happy to let you know that the coat drive distribution was officially closed this passed Monday. This winter while the entire world was in confinement, and the government rendered warm clothes and coats as non essential, the Spanish and Portuguese stepped up to the plate. 

I have personally spoken to new immigrant families from France and Argentina that arrived in Montreal in the...Read more...

Halakha

2021-03-01 11:40:47 AM

Mar1

Pesakh

The Haggadah starts with Kadesh - Sanctify. Practically it is the kidush we recite at outset of the seder. On a deeper level to sanctify means to dedicate or direct a certain thing to its proper place. In this case we ask to focus our thoughts and actions to idea of the exodus.

Joyeux Pourim!

2021-02-25 02:57:26 PM

Feb25

Shalom chers membres et amis,

Certains d'entre nous passeront presque entièrement seuls cette année. Peut-être simplement s'aventurer pour entendre une lecture de mégillah socialement distante. Nous pouvons vivre, après près d'un an d'isolement, avec encore de nombreuses...Read more...

Happy Purim!

2021-02-25 02:55:33 PM

Feb25

Shalom Members and Friends,

Some of us will be spending Purim almost entirely alone this year. Perhaps just venturing out to hear a socially distanced megillah reading. We may live, after nearly a year of isolation, with still many...Read more...

Halakha

2021-02-25 12:17:09 PM

Feb25

L'habit fait pas…!?

Les prêtres ordinaires et les grands prêtres étaient tenus de porter des vêtements spéciaux lorsqu'ils accomplissaient leur service dans le Saint Temple. L'une des raisons invoquées pour cela est que les Juifs reconnaissent les prêtres comme des saints, dévoués au service de D.ieu.  De même, les érudits de la Torah de l'ancienne Babylonie s'habillaient de manière impressionnante, afin d'encourager les gens à...Read more...

Dvar Torah

2021-02-25 12:00:51 PM

Feb25

Your Modesty, His Glory

A heated debate took place this week in one of my daily classes about whether people that give charity should get recognition? And if so, how much? It was a pure Halakhik (Jewish law) question. You what they say 3 Jews, five opinions. While some were saying that one must boast himself too much lest he become too proud. Modesty is the way of the Torah and the path one must walk on. Others, contended that, we must commend those that...Read more...

In Focus

2021-02-22 05:45:20 PM

Feb22

Know where you are from and where you are going

On Sunday SPY - Spanish & Portuguese Youth committee hosted a marvelous pre purim event on zoom for young families. The theme was naturally - Purim. 

50 children of all ages in costume joined us in celebration and joy. The program consisted of the story of the megillah, cookies decorating for each child, music, videos, kahoot and three raffles. What better way to prepare for Purim than to see all the...Read more...

Une Joie Indépendante

2021-02-22 03:26:46 PM

Feb22

La tradition enseigne que la vraie joie ne dépends pas des biens qu'on amasse, mais plutôt dans l'opportunité qui nous ai donner de connecter avec le divin par l'accomplissement de sa volonté.

Halakha

2021-02-22 02:27:53 PM

Feb22

Purim & Priestly Garments

The King of Persia Ahshverosh displayed the garments of the priests during his feast and making a mockery of the Jews that participated. In this week's parasha we learn of the importance of prieslty garments and the value of Jewish clothing.

Halakha

2021-02-18 01:40:33 PM

Feb18

le Machatzit HaShekel

• Durant Taanit Esther - le «jeûne d'Esther», avant la prière de Mincha, nous donnons le Machatzit HaShekel à la charité. Un Machatzit HaShekel est la moitié de la monnaie standard de ce pays particulier. La coutume est de donner la valeur de l’argent équivalent du marché.  

• Il est d'usage de donner trois pièces, puisque le mot Terumah (lit. une offrande) est mentionné trois fois au...Read more...

Dvar Torah

2021-02-18 01:38:14 PM

Feb18

Be Happy!

Adar the current month of the Jewish calendar is the jolliest month of the year. Between the story of Purim and the Mitzvah of drink to the point of not being able to discern between Mordehkai and Aman. Furthermore, our sages tell us that when one Adar starts we must be joyful. Besides that,  “Serve Hashem (G-d) with joy,” the Psalmist urges us.

Joy is a central element of service to G-d. The happiness...Read more...

Where does G-D live?

2021-02-18 12:37:02 PM

Feb18

It shall be that the place where the Lord your God will choose to place his name. There you shall bring all that I command you...

At both levels of the mitzvah, we are confronted with a question already posed by King Solomon at the inauguration of the Beit ha-Mikdash.

Would God truly dwell on the earth? Behold, the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, and surely not this Temple that I have built.

How can infinity be encompassed in a "world of finitude"? The Midrash comments that Moshe was also confounded by the question of how an abode could be built to accommodate the infinite God. But God told Moshe, "Your thinking is not my thinking. God has the capacity
to circumscribe the Shechinah by using tzimtzum, the kabbalistic idea of self-contraction. This process is incomprehensible to a mortal human being...

Sukkot in the Winter?!

2021-02-18 06:21:51 AM

Feb18

Why do celebrate Sukkot in the winter? And Why am I even bringing this in the middle of February? Well, you will be surprised to find out that there is a connection between the specific date in the Jewish calendar that Sukkot falls on (beginning of the winter) and the Parasha of the week...  

180 jours de Michté!

2021-02-16 09:43:00 AM

Feb16

Dans la Megillah nous trouvons plusieurs fois (20 fois!) Le mots Michté. Ceci est intéressant puisque dans la Torah entière le mot ce trouve 26 fois. Pourquoi cette répétition ? Que cela vient nous apprendre

In Focus

2021-02-16 08:53:49 AM

Feb16

I have read a few weeks ago the story of Mr. Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, ZAKA chairman, and wanted to share it with you, and although with some delay,  I found it sad and inspiring.    

What is ZAKA?  ZAKA literally: "Disaster Victim Identification", is a series of voluntary community emergency response teams in Israel, each operating in a police district. These organizations are recognized by the Israeli...Read more...

Halakha - Lois et Coutumes

2021-02-12 06:00:00 AM

Feb12

Célébrations de Rosh Chodesh
Ce Shabbat est le deuxième des deux jours de Rosh Chodesh pour le mois d'Adar (lorsqu'un mois a 30 jours, le dernier jour du mois et le premier jour du mois suivant servent de Rosh Chodesh du mois suivant).

Des...Read more...

Dvar Torah

2021-02-12 06:00:00 AM

Feb12

I had a fascinating conversation this week with one of our young members. Among the many topics we discussed, our conversation took a turn to the pertinence of the Torah in today's modern society. His argument was that between Cyberspace, interstellar space, interior space. Genome sequencing, globalization. Smart cards, smart bombs, stem cells and cell phones. There is no denying it: we are living in a new era. Science fiction has...Read more...

In Memory of Shlomo Hillel z"l

2021-02-11 05:59:41 AM

Feb11

The Jewish community lost a big man this week, Shlomo Hillel z”l. Shlomo Hillel was an Iraqi-born Israeli diplomat and politician who served as Speaker of the Knesset, Minister of Police, Minister of Internal Affairs, and ambassador to several...Read more...

Honour and not love?!

2021-02-09 12:00:00 PM

Feb9

The Torah commands us to love God, to love our neighbor, and to love the stranger who dwells among us. 

But, in a particularly compelling example of the Torah's psychological sophistication, it does not command us to love our parents.
Why?

Commemorating the Shiva of Alfred Guindi z"l, brother of Victor Guindi.

In Focus

2021-02-09 11:59:00 AM

Feb9

And Justice For All

OK so you all heard the recent developments concerning places of worship, right? If your answer was No, let me give you a short recap.

So, basically we went from 0 to 10 worshipers in a single week. Initially the Quebec government imposed closure of houses of worship and then retracted, allowing only ten worshipers per building. Is your head spinning? Ours, at the Synagogue was. And Wait, it is not finished. In an...Read more...

Dvar Torah

2021-02-05 06:01:00 AM

Feb5

I had a fascinating conversation this week with one of our young members. Among the many topics we discussed, our conversation took a turn to the pertinence of the Torah in today’s modern society. His argument was between Cyberspace,...Read more...

In Focus

2021-02-02 12:00:00 PM

Feb2

Parashat Yitro 5781

In the past few weeks following the recent government shutdown that were imposed on the general population and the houses of worship, many communities expressed their discontent and revolted against the sanctions. After much pressure on the Quebec government from different  communities, jews and non-jews alike, the authorities lifted some of the restrictions and permitted 10 people to attend houses of worship. Soon after, about...Read more...

Rabbi's Message

2021-01-29 06:00:00 AM

Jan29

Rabbi Pinto

I just got an e‑mail about celebrating the New Year for Trees (Tu Bishvat) in January. I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, it’s freezing, with plenty of snow covering the trees. If you want to celebrate the trees, do it in spring. Why now, right in the middle of winter?   Unlike what some may believe, the 15th of Shevat (or Tu BiShvat, as it’s commonly called) isn’t some Jewish version of Arbor Day. In fact, the...Read more...

In Focus

2021-01-26 10:28:54 AM

Jan26

Rabbi Pinto

This past Sunday 185 participants from Israel, Europe, the USA, and Canada joined the Babylonian Iraqi Jews of Montreal to commemorate and honor the memory of 10 innocent Jews slaughtered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, on January 27, 1969. Speakers from different countries and from our community shared historical and personal stories of what transpired at that time and Iraq, and the state of panic and fear that invaded that heart of the Jewish community in Baghdad and Basra. In memory of those who sacrificed their lives during those terrible times, I  would like to share with you here my address during the commemoration on Sunday. 

Friends today, in memory of dear brothers, I would like to share with you two tragic anecdotes of our people that can shed some light on today’s commemoration. The Babylonian Talmud relates one of the most moving narratives to emerge from our history of martyrdom account of the Ten Martyrs—the heart-rending narrative describing in graphic detail the deaths of 10 Mishnaic-era Torah luminaries who were slaughtered on the altar of senseless hatred.

The first account is about, Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel Hanasi and Rabbi Ishmael Kohen Gadol: When each sage begged to be killed first, so as not to witness the execution of his distinguished colleague, their executioners sadistically cast lots, and Rabbi Shimon was murdered first. As Rabbi Ishmael was bemoaning the loss of his close friend, the executioner's daughter implored her father to keep him alive. When he refused, his daughter asked instead that Rabbi Ishmael's facial skin be removed so that she could always gaze at its beauty. This unspeakably barbaric request was fulfilled, and Rabbi Ishmael's face was skinned while he was still alive. As a further insult, the skin was kept in storage, to be worn by legions as for good luck during battle.

The second account is about another Talmudic sage by the name of Rabbi Hananiah ben Tradyon . Rabbi Hananiah was caught teaching Torah in public, which was a sin punishable by death during his time. The Romans decided to make an example of him. Accordingly, Rabbi Hananiah was wrapped in a Torah scroll, which was then set afire. As if this torture were not sufficient, strips of water-soaked wool were placed on his body to prolong his agony. While his distraught students looked on helplessly, Rabbi Hananiah inspired them with his famous utterance, "The parchment is burning but the letters are flying off," meaning that enemies can crush the Jewish body but not the spirit.

Friends, why does the Talmud find it so important to tell us such gruesome stories? The answer is quite obvious. The Talmud relates, in graphic detail, these stories lest we forget those that were prosecuted for the simple reason that they were Jewish. And to remember, that although through generations of prosecution and trepidation, the Jewish spirit not only survived but thrived. Pessimism was never a Jewish trait.  We as individuals and as a nation choose to hope in the face of prosecution. 

Today too, we are remembering ten martyrs, and the same is to be said about them. Murdered for the simple reason of their Jewish identity. Taken from us at the prime of their lives.  And so, just like the Talmud we must retell their story, write books about them, tell their story to our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, inshallah. Here too we have the equal duty and responsibility to commemorate this tragic episode of our history, and to pass it on to future generations, lest we forget. And I say to them, we have not forgotten you our dear brothers; Ezra Naji Zilkha, 60, of Basra, Charles Raphael Horesh, 45, of Baghdad, Fouad Gabbay, 35, of Basra, Yeheskel Gourji Namerdi, 32, of Basra, Sabah Haim Dayan, 25, of Basra, Daaud Ghali, 21, of Basra, Naim Khedouri Helali, 21, of Basra, Heskel Saleh Heskel, 17, of Basra, Daoud Heskel Barukh Dellal, 20, of Basra, Jamal Hakim, 17, of Basra.

May it be the will of Hashem that your memory be a blessing to all of us, and may your soul be bound in the eternal bond of life, and let us say amen.

Un trésor de prière

2021-01-26 09:27:09 AM

Jan26

Rabbi Pinto

Shir Hashirim: Les 117 versets du Roi Salomon

 

Just Call Me

2021-01-22 03:26:26 PM

Jan22

Rabbi Pinto

Dear friends,

I am here for you. Whether you want to ask a question, consult, learn together, or just chat, please call me on my mobile: 514.506.3164
I'm available at this number 24/7. Shabbat, emergencies only. I look forward to hearing from...Read more...

Rabbi's Message

2021-01-22 02:19:52 PM

Jan22

Rabbi Pinto

A young professional from our community reached out to me to congratulate the Synagogue for our coat drive. The drive is still going in full force. We are setting up 30 minutes appointments for people to pick up the items desired. So far, the Spanish have distributed over 35 large bags of coats and clothes for all ages and sizes. She told me how proud she was to be Jewish and part of such a beautiful community. As our conversation evolved she...Read more...

In Focus

2021-01-19 02:35:51 PM

Jan19

Rabbi Pinto

Following the attack on our sister Synagogue Shaar Hashamayim, I received the following message from the Communist League of Montreal, "We urge all working people, their unions, and all the defenders of democratic rights to join us in speaking out against the attack on the synagogue of the  Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount, one of the biggest in Montreal. A man has been arrested painting swastikas on the doors. He had a...Read more...

An Homage to Sheldon Adelson Z'L

2021-01-15 02:32:42 PM

Jan15

Rabbi Pinto

The Jewish people and the Jewish state have lost a great man this week, Sheldon Adelson of blessed memory. Adelson’s father, a Lithuanian immigrant, was a cab driver in Boston, and his mother ran a knitting shop. Sheldon, his three siblings, and their parents all slept in one room. He and other Jewish boys in the neighborhood were beaten up by Irish youths. When he was twelve, he borrowed two hundred dollars from an uncle to purchase the...Read more...

In Focus

2021-01-12 02:30:22 PM

Jan12

Rabbi Pinto

In a recent article in the global news, Saba Aziz reported that almost a year into the coronavirus outbreak and following months of scientific research and clinical trials by Pfizer and BioNTech, a newly approved COVID-19 vaccine began to roll out in Canada and the United States on Monday.

Understandably, there is renewed hope of much-needed protection against the coronavirus, but people are also concerned about the possible side...Read more...

Mon, March 1 2021 17 Adar 5781