April Calender Rabbi's Message in April
Our new Home Page
Our brothers and sisters are here "University of Oregon Jewish Student Union".
I was dismayed to read that the Union of Orthodox Rabbis issued a call for all Reform and Conservative Jews to abandon their synagogues because they do not practice "true" Judaism. This should be a time when all Jews are searching for every way possible to find common ground and cooperate wherever necessary, while still respecting the differences of the various denominations. Our goal as a minyan should be to offer the very best Torah-based davening and learning we can without regard to what anyone else is doing. Lives devoted to Torah will serve as loving examples of what we believe is true.
And now that Purim is here, Pesach can't be far away. When we are searching for chametz to rid from our homes, we must also search for any "puffed up" attitudes in ourselves which we could well destroy with the chametz.
May you have a happy and kosher Pesach.
Prayer Study Session
The special luncheon to discuss adding the Prayer for the State
of Israel to our services is now rescheduled for April 12. Don't
miss this important opportunity for learning. A decision will
be made before Havdalah.
TROPE and VOWELS The Higher Revelations of Torah
The Trope are the 18 little symbols that have been placed above or below each word in the Bible. Each Trope symbol has name and represents a definite little Melody. The word that has a Trope symbol above or below it is sung to the melody of that particular Trope, and melodically accented exactly at the vowel point where the Trope symbol appears.
The method of singing words with the aid of Trope is a lot like singing the words of a song to musical notes. One of the main differences is that each musical note represents only one tone, while each Trope represents a complete melodic formula. The formulas of some Tropes have only one note, and others as many as 10 individual notes.
As taught in the Kabbalah, the forms of the signs of the various cantillation marks resemble different positions and motions of a snake. This is connected with the ninth Hebrew
letter "Tet", the letter of "Concealed Good".
There are two opinions presented in the Gemara regarding the initial origin of the Trope symbols and melodies. The first opinion is that these treasures, as well as the precise Hebrew
Vowels of the words of the Torah, were given to Moshe Rabeinu on Mount Sinai as Oral Law at the time he received the Torah. Since the Trope and Vowels were given over as Oral Law, they do not appear in a Sefer Torah scroll. Only the words of the Torah, given over as Written Law are shown.
According to the Bahir, the vowel points are to the letters as the soul is to the body. The vowel points are the life of the letters, and through them the letters endure.
This first opinion also holds that it is forbidden to accept money for teaching the Trope or the Vowels, since it is not permissible to accept payment for teaching the Oral Tradition.
The second opinion suggests that the Trope was introduced by Ezra the Scribe and the first Sanhedrin of 70 Sages. The names of the Trope first appeared in writing in the Zohar.
The same sets of Trope symbols are used for Torah reading as for Haftara reading, but the melodic formulas are different. The same signs are also used with unique formulas for the Torah readings on the High Holidays; the Krias Yam Suf reading in the Torah, when we crossed the Red Sea; the "Song of Songs" from King Solomon, read on Shabat Shira; Megillas Esther read
on Purim; and Eichah (Lamentations) read on the fast of Tisha B'Av. There are 3 short sections within Megillas Esther where the trope of Lamentations is inserted; from this we learn that
these sections allude to the destruction of the Temple.
These various melodic formulas have evolved among different Jewish communities throughout the world over the past two thousand years, and to an extent have picked up some "local flavor." However, all of the cantillations are rooted in our tradition and can be traced to their common ancient origin. Throughout the ages, it has been the responsibility of the Hazzanim in every community to guard and perpetuate our musical heritage.
There are several explanations as to the purpose of the Trope. It is well known that in ancient times, all studying was done with melody. The music helps to interpret the words of the text correctly, and to give added meaning. The melody also helps in memorizing the text.
The Trope are the keys to accurate interpretation. The arrangement of the Trope indicates the various clauses in the verse, and shows us which words to accent, how to accent them and where to pause. The correct intonations and pauses in a verse can make all of the difference in the correct interpretation of the text. When properly chanted, the entire text takes on a new and clearer meaning, helping to reveal a much deeper understanding.
As we receive our new Sefer Torah, we should know that we are receiving the Written Law and the Oral Law. This special gift from the Holy One and His messengers includes not only the parchment and the holy words so beautifully inscribed upon it, but also from the Oral Law what is not seen: the Vowels and Trope which ornament the words with sound and melody.
We learn from Reb Moshe Chayim Luzzatto in Derech HaShem that the ultimate aim of the Holy One in creating the Torah is realized in two ways: through correct recitation of the Torah and true comprehension. By properly chanting the words of the Torah in exactly the way prescribed on Mount Sinai according to the Written and Oral Law, one can reach a state of Dvekus with HaShem. Correct recitation guides us to true comprehension. And this is what Krias HaTorah is really all about.
Many of the major commentators suggest that the melody of the
Trope is the highest, and Vowel sounds the secondhighest
manifestation of the Light of Torah. Our Sages teach that the
wisdom and "Concealed Good" in the cantillation is quite
beyond the outer reaches of our rational mind, and its revelation
awaits the coming of Mashiach.
by Avraham Sand, based on teachings in "The Bahir"; "Derech HaShem" by Luzzatto; "The AlefBeit" by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh; "Haftarah Chanting" by Pinchas Spiro; and with research assistance and special thanks to Rabbi Meir Fund.
Letter to the Editor
Mazel Tov! Mazel Tov!
To one and all members of our Jewish Community upon it's receiving of a Sefer Torah which is both historic and timeless. This Sefer Torah has found a home within the walls and community of the Halachic Minyan and will be our ocean of life, strength and knowledge from which we will grow.
How did we merit such an incredible gift?
The Halachic Minyan grew from a small group of people davening in back rooms and living rooms into a larger Jewish community that accepted the crown of Torah on their heads and in their hearts. We have come very far from where we started, but we must continue. As a Jewish community recipient of a Sefer Torah we have a greater responsibility now to take care of and honor those who helped get us this Torah, who teaches us Torah, who lives Torah, answer our Kasha's (Torah questions), shila's (Torah personal-questions), and who is our judge for us when the need arises.
Who we describe here is our very own Rabbi Davidson. Our Jewish lives depend on him to help us though all of life's passages. Torah is our holy instruction for living and he is our holy instructor-teacher.
It is our torah obligation to honor, respect and provide for him by financially supporting our shul and giving Masser (tithe) and Tsedaka. It isn't our Torah option, but rather our Torah way of life.
Be reminded, "the laws of tzedaka state that nobody become poor through tzedaka, and never will tzedaka become the cause of any grave suffering or misfortune." (Hirsch, 1962) Rather, those that show compassion and give tsedaka, Hashem will hear their payers and be compassionate towards them. (Hirsch, 1962). No amount of money is too small and every penny is an investment in keeping and supporting our Torah teachers.
The givers of Tsedaka will be the receivers of Torah, from which all of life's goodness springs forth.
Mrs. Yehidis Brawerman
Don't Miss Discovery
The internationally famous Discovery seminar will be offered in Eugene onApril 6 at the Halachic Minyan from 10 a.m. till 6. Don't miss thisopportunity to attend one of the best Jewish seminars we know of. Atypical Discovery seminar has lectures such as "Distinguishing knowledge from Faith," "Codes The Hidden Genius of the Torah", "Information only the Author Could have Known, "The Seven Wonders of Jewish History," "Has our Torah Been transmitted Reliably?" and "Control Gd's Role in History."
Preregistration is required, and the sooner the better.
Please call the office today to register 3346772.
Just $5 will bring you an educational opportunity you'll never
Yehudis Scores Major Shaloch Manos Success
Our collective headcoverings off to Yehudis Brawerman for
spearheading the shaloch manos sale. This project was so
successful demand exceeded supply, and Yehudis had to turn away
people who ordered too late. These very professionallooking
baskets (Nechama said they looked more professional than the professional,
mailorder ones) yielded profit to the minyan of 100% or
twice the Brawerman=s
investment since they contributed all the materials and food.
a very tidy profit margin and wonderful model for future fund-raising.
Orthodox Union Responds
The Orthodox Union, the national synagogue organization of which the Halachic Minyan is a member, issued a responds to the pronouncement made by an independent organization of orthodox Rabbis. While it was reported that the Rabbis claimed that non-orthodox Jews were not Jews, that was not at all what was said. The article as it appeared in the Register-Guard included statements to the contrary. Nevertheless, the impression was made that they were delegitimizing reform and conservative Jews as such. I immediately spoke with Rabbi Yitzchak Husbands-Henkin at Temple Beth Israel to inform him that it was not the OU that made the statement, despite the similarity of the names of the organizations. I also spoke with our friends at the OU who were inundated with calls from around the country from those who were confused or concerned about the issue.
The following is from the official OU response to the Rabbi=s statement:
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America repudiates the statement recently issued by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis which calls into question the validity of the Jewish identity of the vast majority of American Jews. The hurtful public pronouncement flies in the face of Jewish peoplehood, particularly at a time when the holiday of Purim emphasizes the common fate and destiny of all the Jewish people.
We consider the public pronouncement particularly painful in light of the current dangers facing the Jews of Israel and in other communities across the world which cry out for Jewish unity. Despite divisions on core theological issues, they are still to be considered disagreements within the family. We must never lose sight of our strong sense of unity as Jews and as one people. To emphasize the issues that divide and thus seemingly delegitimatize large numbers of Jews harms the efforts of all who seek resolution to the difficult issues facing world Jewry.
We call upon all responsible leaders to exercise restraint in statements so that despite the issues that divide us we may still remain united as one people.
We at the Halachic Minyan acknowledge and applaud the efforts
of all Jews who are striving to connect with Judaism in a sincere
and meaningful way. We are pleased to be working together with
Temple Beth Israel, Hillel and the Federation in creating programs
and events that offer the opportunity to all Jews to access the
history and tradition that is ours - all of ours - to inherit.
This is what it means to be a part of the broad community that
Shmura Matzoh Orders
Adina and the Albertson's
manager, Mike, have arranged to have a wide variety of Kosher
for Pesach food available at the Hilyard and 30th St. location.
Shmurah Matzoh - the round, hand-made variety - will be available
through the shul office. Please call ASAP to place your order.
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