Parshat Vayishlach Davening Times Follow Program Information Below
Rabbi Muller's Message...
Rabbi Tzvi Muller
As the rabbi was introducing a guest speaker to the congregation, the wicker chair upon which the speaker was sitting collapsed, tumbling him onto the floor. Attempting to lighten up the moment and salvage the honor of the hapless man, the rabbi said:
Ladies and gentlemen, our guest speaker is most distinguished! Something incredible just happened which demonstrates how respect-worthy he is. The verse, referring to Jacob, states, “And he took of the stones of the place.” The midrash tells us that when Jacob gathered some stones to place beneath his head when resting for the night, the stones began quarreling with one another. Each one argued, “Upon me should the tzadik place his head!” They each wanted the privilege of being the actual stone that Jacob’s head directly rested upon. The midrash tells us that God miraculously fused those small rocks together into one large stone, thereby giving each one of them their coveted wish. As the verse later states, referring to the stone in singular form, “And he took the stone.”
The rabbi continued, “So too, when our esteemed guest speaker sat down on the wicker chair, each little hole clamored for the privilege of having such a great tzadik sit directly upon it. Before our very eyes, God performed a miracle making all the little holes become one huge hole!”
What message is the midrash conveying with this story of the little rocks? Sometimes in life we may find it hard to connect with other people. Sometimes it may be difficult to even just get along with them. People have different beliefs, attitudes, and personalities and sometimes they just don’t seem to go together. The lesson of the stones is that serving a common higher purpose can miraculously unite even the most diverse individuals. If all parties tap into an inner calling to serve a common cause, as if by magic, unity begins to descend upon them.
We can apply this profound lesson to our own lives. The more we elevate ourselves toward a cause above ourselves, the more we will be harmoniously disposed toward those around us. This is especially true when we can rally together with those people around a unifying noble value, for example, kindness. We can ask, “Is there someone (or some ones) we both care about? Can we, together, make that person’s life better? Is there an organization whose work we both admire, that we can both support?”
The more we promote Judaism’s universal values, the more all humankind can unify in their embrace, while enjoying together the harmony that will then pervade our societies. Imagine a world that appreciates the inestimable regard for all human beings.* Consider a humanity that understands that we are each summoned, and privileged, “To protect and serve.” Envision an Earth where people know that their true joy lies in gladdening the hearts of others. These teachings do not just make us whole as individuals; they also unite us with each other, making our entire world whole.
Just as the little openings in the wicker chair joined as one, they remind us to join together for a higher cause. For when all the “wholes” join together, the world will certainly be that much “holier”.
May we be inspired by the lesson of those little rocks’ uniting because, as we all agree... unity rocks!
Gut Shabbos and Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Tzvi Muller
*This regard is the cornerstone of the Torah as each human being is created with a Tzelem Elokim, in the image of God. In the unfortunate case when a human being acts contrary to his/her own godliness, that regard is forfeited. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of people don’t!
P.S. This Dvar Torah is an abridged and slightly adapted version of this past Shabbat’s sermon at the Chai Center. Therefore, it refers to the story told at the beginning of Vayetze when Jacob leaves Be’er Sheva for Charan, and stops to rest for the night. Due to an inadvertent omission on Shabbos, it is included in this week’s newsletter. Enjoy!
This year in Birmingham, next year in Jerusalem!
The Chai Center led mission to Israel leaves to Israel in February 2016!
February 21 - March 1
Join a group of vibrant Jewish women, ages 45-60, for a fun-filled journey of self re-discovery and exploration!
This Israel mission has quickly filled up. People have begun applying for the waiting list (in the event of a spot opening up). If you might be interested in going on the waiting list or to being part of a future mission to Israel, please email email@example.com
with Rabbi Muller
If you wish to set up a study group session with Rabbi Muller in your home or office please contact Rabbi Muller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, November 27
4:45 pm – Friday Afternoon Services
Candle Lighting Time - 4:44 pm
Shabbos, November 28
10:00 am – Morning Services
Sermon: - by Rabbi Muller
12:00 pm – Full Kiddush Lunch
12:45 pm (approx.) – Afternoon Service
4:45 pm - Se'udas Shlishis and Class with Rabbi Muller*
5:48 pm – Evening Services and Shabbos Ends*
Services are held at the Birmingham Masonic Lodge (37357 Woodward Ave. Bloomfield Hills). Asterisk (*) indicates possible location change announced after Shabbos morning services.
Please note that all halachic times indicated above reflect the geographical location of the Chai Center (37357 Woodward Ave. Bloomfield Hills). Other locations in the Metro Detroit area may be a few minutes earlier or later.