Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message

Shabbat Shalom!


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Click here for full text of the
Torah and Haftarah portions.


Candlelighting for
Friday, October 17, 2014 • 5:30pm

• Our Portion for the Week •

In this portion we begin the reading of the Torah anew. The creation of the world is described in two accounts. The first account focuses on the creation of all the elements of the physical universe, including humanity, and comes to a climax with the establishment of a day of rest. The second account focuses on the creation of humanity and comes to a climax with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a result of transgressing, a strict prohibition on eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden. God proclaims that henceforth they will get their food by hard toil and women will bear children in pain. Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel, who become a farmer and a shepherd, respectively. As a result of anger when God accepts Abel's offering but not his own, Cain kills his brother. Adam and Eve have a third son, Seth, from whom Noah descends.

• Our Question for the Week •

God said: 'Let there be light' and there was light.
(Genesis 1:3)

In what ways have the Jewish people and the Jewish tradition brought light into the world? In what specific ways does Judaism call upon us – as individuals and as sacred communities – to be sources of light?

The special candle kindled at Havdalah, at the conclusion of Shabbat, is said to re-enact the creation of light on the first day. How does this ritual also illuminate the meaning of the Sabbath? How do other ritual uses of light convey their own specific messages?