February 6, 2014
6 Adar 1 5774
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In This Issue
PARSHAT Tetzaveh.
Youth and Family Activities
Learning Opportunities

Parshat Tetzaveh 

Rabbi David Hoffman

Leading With Absence

With the first words of our parashah, we see the shadow, but not the body, of a man.

"V'ata tetzavvah et b'nai yisrael" (Exod. 27:20): "And you shall instruct the children of Israel" in the production of oil for the menorah to be used in the Tabernacle.

Only two verses later we read:

"V'ata hakrev eilekha et aharon ahiekha v'et banav eto" (28:1): "And you shall bring forward Aaron your brother and his sons . . . to serve Me [God] as priests."

Then again in two verses,

"V'ata tedaber el khol hakhmei lev" (28:3): "And you shall instruct all who are skillful" to make the sacral vestments for Aaron the high priest.

Instead of the familiar language of introduction-"And God said to Moses . . . " we find the repeated use of the pronoun you (ata). These uses of the generic atah, one following on the heels of another, call our attention to the name that is not called: Moshe. Indeed, this language introduces a remarkable aspect of our Torah portion. From Moshe's birth until the end of the Torah, this is the only parashah where Moshe's name is never mentioned. Moshe is the principal actor in the undertakings of this reading, and yet his name is never explicitly invoked.

The language of V'ata (and you) is noteworthy and suggestive for a number of reasons. In truth, the pronoun ata is not needed for the sentence. The Torah could easily communicate the same idea with more economical language, employing the command form, tzav-"command the Children of Israel" (see, for example, Leviticus 6:2). This construction does not require the use of a pronoun at all. However, the Torah chooses to address Moshe through the pronoun, indicating his involvement in implementing these instructions, yet also creating a symbolic distance between him and the Children of Israel. He is there, yet he is not fully there.

Secondly, the absence of Moshe's name in these opening sentences is underscored by the presence of Aaron's name. In the same verses that repeat three times in staccato fashion: "V'ata (and you) . . . " (Exod. 27:20-28:3), Aaron's name is mentioned 6 times; by the end of the parashah, Aaron's name appears on 30 occasions. Moshe recedes in this parashah, while Aaron and his sons, who function as the people's priests, step into the spotlight. Strikingly, it is Moshe's very actions-which are performed not from his identity as "Moshe" but from the faceless "you," (ata)-that enable Aaron and his sons to assume their place in the public eye: Moshe's primary tasks in this parashah are to appoint and install his brother as high priest and his sons as priests and to furnish them with the proper vestments for their service.

There is a reading of these events that explains that Moshe was passed over for the high priesthood as punishment. Because Moshe was initially unwilling to assume the role of God's agent at the Burning Bush, God chose Aaron to be appointed high priest (see, for example, Tanhuma Shemini 3). Moshe did not "step up," as it were, to God's request and, therefore, our parashah, with the choice of Aaron as high priest and the absence of Moshe's name, serves as punishment for his unwillingness to answer the call of God.

But I submit that we need not understand this parashah in these terms. Rather, the Torah presents an important lesson of leadership. Moshe has courageously led the Children of Israel. 

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for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive: 
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 

2/6/2014 (6 Adar I)               

Jack Gruber

2/8/2014 (8 Adar I)               Wesley Brown

2/9/2014 (9 Adar I)               

Max Silverstein

2/10/2014 (10 Adar I)           

Klara Stark

2/12/2014 (12 Adar I)           Theodore Jacob Levine

Betty Margolis 

2/13/2014 (13 Adar I)           

Gloria Braverman

Arthur Goodman

Sol Reichberg Taub

Leo Weber

2/14/2014 (14 Adar I)           

Wolfe Brown

Esther Nusbaum

2/16/2014 (16 Adar I)           

Yetta Langfelder

2/17/2014 (17 Adar I)           

Ann Doneson 

Maurice Katz

Esther Wolok

2/18/2014 (18 Adar I)           

Alan Breitman

Rose Lifshitz

2/20/2014 (20 Adar I)          

Doris Barahal Tron

2/22/2014 (22 Adar I)           

Edith Nusholtz

2/26/2014 (26 Adar I)           

Esther Patent

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phone:  248-432-2729
Shabbat Tetzaveh
Friday, February 7th
6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv, Chapel
Saturday, February 8th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
10 a.m. Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3 for ages 12 and under.
We gratefully acknowledge the following families for sponsoring Kiddush Lunch this week: Rosenbergs, Knoppow/Sapersteins, Levy/Elrom, Wolfs, Citron/Lupovitch, Renee & Jay Kozlowski, Abramsons, Bergers, Febers and Orels.  
Click here to help with Kiddush Lunch
*Kiddush Lunch is available through donations to the Kiddush Lunch Fund, the generosity of weekly sponsors, and volunteer efforts of our congregants and regular attendees.  Please e-mail or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch.  To sponsor as part of a "group," please e-mail Joanna Abramson. You may also make a donation to the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.  To sign up to help prepare Kiddush Lunch please use the "volunteer spot" button above.

To the family of William "Bill" Wolok who died February 6th. Bill will be greatly missed by our morning minyan regulars, and all of our members who always enjoyed his company and humor.  Our condolences to Bill's wife Edie and to their entire family.  May Bill's memory always be for a blessing.

Purim is just around the corner.
B'nai israel will be participating in a collaborative Purim Celebration with congregations Beth Ahm, B'nai Moshe and Adat Shalom. A flyer with all of the activities being planned will be out soon! Please e-mail Karen Rosenberg
 if your 12 and older teens would like to help plan and work at the Purim Carnival.  First carnival meeting is Sunday, February 9th at B'nai Moshe.  Adults of our teens are needed as well for planning and staffing assistance.
82nd ANNUAL 
Featuring Charlie Langton, Legal Analyst for Fox Detroit and WWJ.  $54.00/person.  Please contact Ralph Woronoff (248-487-2600 or Joe Lebovic (313-949-9921) for more information. 
Rabbi Marjorie Lehman will speak on:  "Leaning JTS logo Toward or Away from Freedom:  How do the Rabbis talk about the Mitzvah of Reclining at the Passover Seder?" Rabbi Lehman is a fellow at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studeis at the University of Michigan during the spring 2014 term. Click here for a complete bio on Rabbi Lehman and for an event flyer.  All are welcome.  There is no charge for this event.  Please e-mail Tom Wexelberg-Clouser if you plan to attend.
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
FAMILY CAMP 2014 MARCH 21st-23rd
Family Night at Minyan, one Sunday/month.  
Bring your family to help make minyan at 5 p.m. and enjoy pizza dinner in the social hall following services. MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  3/9 (we will assemble Mishloach Manot for BI seniors), 4/27, 6/1

Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities 

SHABBAT CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP DATES for youth ages 7-12. 30 minutes of tefilla and parsha fun. 

11-11:45 a.m., ROOM 9
MARCH 1ST,  APRIL 5th, MAY 3 (10:30 A.M.)   

D'VAR TORAH COCOA CAFE for ages 13-17, 11:00-11:45 a.m., Social Hall 

Listen to the D'var Torah in the main sanctuary, then give your take over cocoa and cider.  Kiddush lunch following, with Spirited singing and Birkat Hamazon led by teens.

e-mail teens@bnaiisraelwb.org for more information.

To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake


12  Constance Victor

14  Jeffrey Eisman

14  Rebecca Tron

16  Benjamin Eisman

16  Brian Newhouse

16  Miriam Saperstein

17  Michael Golob

17  Leia Serlin

20  Colton Graub

22  Seymour Manello

25  Sheila Kurland

25  Sharon Rosen

26  Aaron Orel



If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
Learning Opportunities  
Adult Education
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
February 8 and 22     March 8 and 22    
April 12 and 26    May 10 and 24    June 7 and 21
Mitch will focus on Ashrei, Aleinu, the Kaddish, Adon Olam, Yigdal, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon. 
Class meets in the lower level, Room 9.

Lunch and Learn Series 
with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow lunch and learn
First Tuesday of every month
Next session:  12:15 p.m., March 4th
Meet at Barnes and Noble on Orchard Lake Road Bring your own lunch.  There is no charge to attend.   Future Dates: March 4th, Apr8th.  Please e-mail Hillel Buechler if you plan to attend.

Shabbat Shiur Series
Shabbat Afternoons, last Saturday of the month following lunch and prior to minha. Shiur (class) will meet in the chapel.  All our welcome.  There is no charge to attend. 
Future Dates: February 22nd, March 29th, May 10th, June 21st.  Click here for schedule and list of presenters.

Caring Community Information

Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery.  

Please e-mail Michael Golob or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729 to add a name to our communal mishebeirach list.   

Shiva assistance: To assist in providing a shiva meal for BI member families and/or if you are able to lead a shiva minyan, please e-mail the synagogue.


Upcoming TKA/BI Joint Opportunities 
MARCH 23-30, 2014
TKA will once again be housing guests for one week from South Oakland Shelter. There are many ways to get involved and help. Everyone's help is needed!  

Chuck Seigerman and Steve Dines are the BI point people for this. Click here to sign up online or e-mail Steve or Chuck with any questions.
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B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.