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Highlighted Sermons

Rabbi in Resident Dr. Michael Berenbaum

"The Burden & Blessing of Jewish History"

Shabbat Yitro

February 11, 2023


Read Dr. Berenbaum's speech by clicking here.


Previously recorded sermons are available on our YouTube Channel by clicking here.



Events and Services

Saturday, April 1st, 9:30am - Scholars in Residence - Michael Soberman and Sarah Atkins from the iCenter

Sunday, April 29:00am -- Volunteer to help pack Kosher Meals for Cafe Europa

Monday, April 3, 9:00am -- Volunteer to deliver Kosher Meals for Cafe Europa

Tuesday, April 4, 3:00pm -- Hametz sales close

Wednesday, April 5 - Erev Pesach - First Seder

Thursday, April 6, 9:30am - Passover Services Day 1 - Second Seder 

Friday, April 7, 9:30am - Passover Services Day 2 

Saturday, April 8, 9:30am - Shabbat Chol Hamoed Services/Havdallah

Monday, April 10, 7:00am -- Chol Hamoed Morning Minyan

Wednesday, April 12, 9:30am -- Passover Services Day 7

Thursday, April 13, 9:30am -- Passover Services Day 8/Yizkor

Adat Shalom offices will be closed for Passover on

April 6 & 7 and April 12 &13.


Tuesday, April 25, 7:00pm - Book Club

Saturday, April 29, 9:30am - Rabbi in Residence, Dr. Leah Hochman






Commentary On This Week's Parsha


The Book of Vayikra primarily discusses ritual law meant to enhance Israelite morality and to distinguish the Israelites from the other nations. However, the first verses of this week’s parsha teach us more about communication than they do religious practice.


וַיִּקְרָ֖א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר ה֙’ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר

God called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying:

Why the apparent redundancy in “call,” “speak,” and “say?”


Communication only succeeds if the intended recipient understands what was communicated. God uses three modes of communication to ensure that Moses fully comprehends the message and its importance. He is to relay the sacrificial system to the Israelites and ensure they properly worship God.


Why specifically these three modalities? In the Talmud on Yoma 4b, Rabbi anina uses this verse to teach that a person should not speak with another before calling them and getting their attention. Rashi astutely notes that the verse says God spoke “אֵלָ֔יו”--to him--referring to Moses and not to Aaron. God communicated this message in a way that specifically Moses would understand.


Only then, does the Torah say what Moses is to relay to the Israelites:



דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם…

“Speak to the Israelite people, and say to them…”


Again, God emphasizes the different modalities Moses is to employ to ensure the Isrealites understand the sacrificial system. Notice what God does not include. Do not “command the people,” but rather “say to them…” The following laws address Israelite religious practice and how they align with God’s values. They are detailed, complicated, and intricately connected to Israelite daily life. Rather than simply command the people to perform precise religious rituals, God tells Moses to emphasize the purpose of the sacrifices in addition to describing the steps towards fulfilling their obligation. By introducing the sacrificial system in this manner, God allows the Israelites to buy into the system and appreciate the sacrifices for their own merit.


If you would like to discuss this interpretation or any other on the parsha, please grab me at kiddush or send me an email at

Wed, March 29 2023 7 Nisan 5783