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		                            <span class="slider_description">Welcome to Bais Betzalel Chabad of North County Inland located in Rancho Bernardo</span>

Minyan Schedule at Chabad of NCI

Sundays 8:15AM
Monday - Friday 7:00AM
Shabbat Day 10:00AM

 

B'H  Chabad of North County Inland has now become the only Shul in our area that has Minyanim everyday.  I want to thank everyone for their commitment to making the Minyanim at Chabad of NCI so strong. A Minyan is the Backbone of a Shul and is the Collective Soul of the Community.  

Message from the Rabbi

Dear Friends,

 

The period between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot is known as “Sefirat HaOmer” – literally meaning “counting of the Omer.” Omer is a biblical measurement of grain, and on the second day of Passover a special offering was brought in the Temple consisting of that season’s first grain. Then, 49 days were counted – seven weeks – and on the 50th day, Shavuot was celebrated, marked with a special bread offering brought to the Temple.

Although today we don’t have a Temple and thus there are no Omer offerings, the mitzvah to count the days remains in effect and it takes on unique significance. Just as the first grain needs to undergo several stages of development before it can become edible bread, so does the Jewish soul undergo a period of development during this time.

Every day that we count is another step, and another opportunity, to develop and improve our character traits. We start with inedible grain, and we incrementally work on enhancing our overall character and behavior, until finally – on Shavuot – we become truly refined, to the point that we are ready to receive the Torah, just as our ancestors did on that first Shavuot 3,300 years ago.

As we continue to enhance and improve our character traits, we pray that we merit to perform the mitzvah of counting the Omer in its most ideal way, in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, with Moshiach. May it be this year!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yehuda

  

Rabbi Moss Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Should we say thank you to Siri? Same for Alexa, Google Assistant, Meta AI etc. After asking for directions, or the weather, or a conversion of pounds to kilos, should we say thank you for the answer we hear? What would the Torah say about showing gratitude to artificial intelligence?

Answer

Let’s first define the purpose of saying thank you. 

Some would suggest that it’s just good manners. We say thank you to be polite. Life is more civil when our interactions with others are sprinkled with expressions of etiquette and courteous pleasantries. It’s just nicer that way.

If this is the reason to say thank you, then we should thank our software too. By doing so, we create a sense of decorum and civility. It doesn't matter that the technology has no feelings. Our thank you doesn't have feelings either. It’s just protocol. 

But there is another way of looking at thank you. It is an acknowledgement of choice. When someone does me a favour, they could have chosen not to. Yet they chose to give me their time, energy, attention or resources. So they deserve my gratitude. I appreciate that they chose to share themselves with me, so I say thank you. 

This only applies to a free agent who can choose. An inanimate object does not deserve thanks, because it did not choose anything. We don’t thank the oven for the food, or the car for the ride. We need not thank Siri for her answers. She didn’t choose to share her knowledge with us. We control her. The choice was ours, and she is merely the tool. 

(You may have an obligation to thank the tech giants who made Siri. But you thanked them plenty when you paid for the device. And you continue to thank them by giving them your personal data.)

Now you may ask, is there anything wrong with saying thanks to Siri? Isn’t it at least ingraining a good habit?

No it isn’t. Thanking a robot is the beginning of a very dangerous habit. It is the automation of relationships. And history has taught us how dangerous that can be. 

Adam and Eve knew that G-d was their Creator. But their grandson Enosh invented idol worship, and people started bowing to the sun. Their rationale was that the sun provides us with the light and warmth that makes our food grow and gives us life. We should offer the sun our gratitude for the blessings we receive.

Their mistake, however, was giving credit where no credit was due. The sun has no choice but to shine. Thanking the sun, rather than G-d who created it, was an easy way to avoid a true relationship. The sun does not expect anything of me. G-d does. Idol worship is impersonal and undemanding. It releases you from the obligation to follow a moral code. That’s why it is attractive, and that’s why it is dangerous.

Replacing G-d with an idol undermines our moral responsibility. And treating human inventions like they are humans will undermine our relationships. 

Real people are demanding. They have their own opinions and needs. They can hurt us and be hurt by us. They can bring us joy, and we them. Our actions toward other people matter, our words have impact, our relationships are real. That is because people have free choice. We can't control them. They are free agents. 

Siri doesn’t come with all that baggage. Her offense is not real, her friendliness not genuine, her assistance not by choice. When you humanise Siri by thanking her, you are de-personalising friendship, you are befriending an idol. It is a small step from artificial intelligence to artificial emotion. We don’t want to go there. 

It is wrong to use people, but we can use Siri. And I don’t think we should be thanking her. She is not a she, she is an it. Save your gratitude for the real people in your life, who have done good for you when they could have chosen otherwise.

And by the way, thank you for the question. 

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss

Sources:
Maimonides Laws of Idolatry 1:1
Tzemach Tzedek Derech Mitzvosecha Mitzvas Milah 3

Parsha in a Nutshell

Parshat Emor

The name of the Parshah, “Emor,” means “speak” and it is found in Leviticus 21:1.

The Torah section of Emor (“Speak”) begins with the special laws pertaining to the kohanim (“priests”), the kohen gadol (“high priest”), and the Temple service: A kohen may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, save on the occasion of the death of a close relative. A kohen may not marry a divorcee, or a woman with a promiscuous past; a kohen gadol can marry only a virgin. A kohen with a physical deformity cannot serve in the Holy Temple nor can a deformed animal be brought as an offering.

A newborn calf, lamb or kid must be left with its mother for seven days before being eligible for an offering; one may not slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day.

The second part of Emor lists the annual Callings of Holiness—the festivals of the Jewish Calendar: the weekly Shabbat the bringing of the Passover offering on 14 Nissan; the seven-day Passover festival beginning on 15 Nissan; the bringing of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Passover, and the commencement, on that day, of the 49 day Counting of the Omer, culminating in the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day; a “remembrance of shofar  blowing” on 1 Tishrei; a solemn fast day on 10 Tishrei; the Sukkot festival—during which we are to dwell in huts for seven days and take the “ Four Kinds”—beginning on 15 Tishrei; and the immediately following holiday of the “eighth day” of Sukkot ( Shemini Azeret).

Next the Torah discusses the lighting of the Menorah in the Temple, and the Showbread(lechem hapanim) placed weekly on the table there.

Emor concludes with the incident of a man executed for blasphemy, and the penalties for murder (death) and for injuring one’s fellow or destroying his property (monetary compensation).

Haftorah Commentary

Haftorah Emor (Ezekiel 44:15-31)\

This week’s haftorah discusses the laws of the kohanim during the Messianic era. The prophet Yechezkel devotes special attention to the regulations of the kohanim and to their priestly garb.1

Twenty-five years had passed since the prophet Ezekiel, along with the cream of the Jewish people, had been exiled to Babylon; fourteen years had passed since the Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed and the rest of the Jews exiled from their homeland. The Jews felt rejected and hopeless. On Yom Kippur of that year, an angel of Hashem appeared to Ezekiel and began giving him an extensive tour and lesson in the structure of the future Temple, down the most intricate details. Ezekiel was in turn to teach these laws to his fellow Jews.2

According to the comments of the Radak, Abravanel and Malbim, throughout the haftorah it is apparent that the status of the ordinary kohain will undergo a radical change and will reflect an elevated lifestyle of sanctity and purity. In essence it appears that the status of the ordinary kohain in the time of Mashiach will parallel that of the Kohain Gadol in earlier times.

According to the understanding of Radak, the ordinary kohain in the Messianic era will be restricted (with one exception) to the marriage of a virgin. The ordinary kohain was forbidden to serve in the Bais Hamikdash with overgrown hair, however, no specific regulations were given regarding his general hair length. But according to the Radak the kohain of the future, like the present Kohain Gadol, will be required to maintain an extremely short hairstyle. The ordinary garb of the kohain consisted of multi-colored wool and linen but the kohain of the future, like the Kohain Gadol on Yom Kippur, will wear strictly linen garb. This garb will even assume the supreme sanctity of the Yom Kippur garb and will be forbidden to be taken outside of the walls of the Bais Hamikdash.1

In addition, the kohanim have the broader responsibility of being the core of spiritual leadership to the Jewish people. They are to serve as the teachers of Torah law, and as judges who settle arguments and deal with arising questions. In keeping with this, the kohanim receive no share of farmland in the Land of Israel, for “Gd is their share”; they subsist on the various “gifts” that the Torah obligates the people to give to them.

The final verse of the haftarah is a most perplexing one: “Anything that has died of itself, or is fatally wounded, whether bird or animal, the priests may not eat.” This is very difficult to understand, for no Jew, kohen or not, may partake of meat that has not been slaughtered in accordance with the laws of shechitah.

In a fascinating passage, the Talmud tells us that this verse, along with others, caused the sages to consider “hiding” the book of Ezekiel—that is, to take it out of the canon of the Tanach (the Bible). As these verses seemed to contradict the words of the Torah, the sages were afraid to have such a book—as holy as it might be—as part of official Jewish teaching for all time.

The individual who saved the book was Chananyah ben Chizkiyah. He sat isolated in his attic and did not move from there until he interpreted all of those verses in the book of Ezekiel that seemed contradictory to the Torah.

Some of the sacrifices in the Temple consisted of a bird—a dove or a turtledove. The way in which they were killed was called melikah, and was done with sharp fingernail of the kohen’s thumb. Killing a bird in this way, in any other instance, would render it unkosher and forbidden for consumption. In the Temple, however, there were certain bird-offerings killed in this way where the kohanim would eat of their meat. Now, since the Torah does allow a kohen to eat the meat of a bird-offering that was killed by melikah, a kohen may come to think that he is entirely exempt from adhering to the laws of shechitah for meat consumption. The verse therefore clarifies that it is only in this particular instance was this allowed to the kohen; in any other case they are like any other Jew and are not allowed to eat an animal or bird that died of itself or is fatally wounded—i.e., that is dead or killed in a way that does not answer to the laws of shechitah.2

The total interest of the kohain of the future will be focused on spirituality and, like the Kohain Gadol of previous times, will be removed from mundane involvement and worldly concerns. It therefore follows logically that the ordinary kohain’s lifestyle will be akin to that of the Kohain Gadol, one of elevated purity and sanctity reflecting the “crown of Hashem” worn upon his head. May we soon merit to experience such elevated levels of sanctity, so sorely missing in our times.1

  1. Haftorah Commentary by Rabbi Dovid Siegel
  2. Emor Haftarah Companion by Rabbi Mendel Dubov

Kosher Recipes

 

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Sat, May 18 2024 10 Iyyar 5784