Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Naming names - Sat. Jan. 9

First Zoo Minyan of 2010 -- this shabbos!

We're meeting this Saturday at Stefan's, in Cleveland Park -- details below.

Along with beginning a new year on the Gregorian calendar, we begin a new book of the Torah this shabbot. Shemot - "names" - begins where we left off, with a listing of Jacob's descendants. But the genealogy quickly diverges from the patterns of Breishit: no "begats", no multi-generational history, and no wives. Just the iconic 12 sons of Jacob, who are now (and forever more) called "Bnai Yisrael".

We don't even get a repetition of the "70 souls" who came down into Egypt. And when we do get a bit of a later generation's genealogy (Moshe's) -- it's anonymous! Chapter 2 begins:

וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ, מִבֵּית לֵוִי; וַיִּקַּח, אֶת-בַּת-לֵוִי. וַתַּהַר הָאִשָּׁה, וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן

Now a man from the House of Levi went and took (to wife) a daughter of Levi. The woman became pregnant and bore a son.

One quick interpretation: this is the transition from the family-history of Breishit to the emerging people-hood of Shemot. Even Tanach, with its penchant for names, can't single out all two million people who left Egypt. And yet the sefer is called "Shemot", because individuals are still the essence of history. We should name names (in the positive sense) as often as we can -- as the parshah does, by beginning with the heroic actions of Shifra and Puah.

So it's time to name some names...hopefully yours. Zoo Minyan isn't necessarily heroic, but it happens because of the supportive actions of individuals. Sign up for some leyning if you can. Volunteer to lead something for davenning, or offer to add something to enrich our kavannah. Schlep a sefer torah, or bring some Zoo Minyan veggies. Write back to info@ZooMinyan.org to add your name to a wonderful shabbat!

The Details:

We'll be gathering for davenning, lunch, shmoozing, singing, etc., this Saturday in Cleveland Park (within walking distance of the Zoo, as is Zoo Minyan custom) at Stefan's house.

Volunteers still sought for Zoo Minyan veggies, davenning treats (i.e. Kavanot or creative tidbits, not actual food ;) also Torah Transporter, and davening leaders – write back to info@ZooMinyan.org.

If you'd like to Leyn please either use the self-service Google docs leyning spreadsheet to sign up, or email leyning@ZooMinyan.org.

The Details:

Zoo Minyan
This Saturday, Parshat Shmot, 9 Jan.
10am sharp, with a rousing Psukei d'Zimrah
Pot-luck dairy/veggie lunch -- main courses especially appreciated

At the home of Stefan, in Cleveland Park. For directions, check your Zoo mail, or email info@ZooMinyan.org

May your 2010 be a Shana Tovah!

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