November/December 2011 – Shabbat Beresheet-“How To Mess Up Your Life”
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 28, Number 2 November/December 2011 Cheshvan/Kislev 5772
**Women’s Retreat, Nov.11-13
**KA 30th Anniversary Luau, Nov.19
**Kids Hebrew School begins Dec.3
Shabbat Beresheet-“How To Mess Up Your Life”
By Rabbi Barney Kasdan
As a rabbi, I usually don’t like to give this kind of counsel to
people! But the famous story in this first parasha of the year begs the
question. Of course Shabbat Beresheet is filled with some amazing
revelation of the beginnings of the universe and mankind. Sadly, it doesn’t
take long for humanity to fall from God’s Paradise. If that wasn’t bad
enough, the next generation continued the downward slope as illustrated in
the life of Cain. Actually his birth was perceived as potentially a great
blessing. Not only was Cain the firstborn but his mother Chava/Eve saw a
possible fulfillment of even the messianic promise of Genesis 3:15 (the seed
of the woman to crush all evil). Immediately after giving birth, Chava
exclaims “kaniti ish et Adonai! / I have acquired a man with HaShem!”
Literally the Hebrew is better translated “I have acquired a man, the Lord!”
This is not only a play on words in the original language (kaniti / Kayin /
Cain), but it makes sense that Chava thought her firstborn might actually be
the predicted One, even the Mashiach. Cain would in fact fall far short of
such expectations as he brings an inferior sacrifice to the altar of God
while his younger brother Abel brings the best from his flock. Some
speculate that the problem was that Cain brought a fruit offering while Abel
brought an animal offering. The text does not make that distinction but
something is clearly going on. A midrash says that Cain actually ate his
animal offering and offered some low-grade flax to the Lord. If that is the
case then Cain was in disobedience. Maybe it was more about attitude.
Whatever the case, the New Covenant states that Abel “offered a better
sacrifice” (Hebrews 11:4). Essentially Cain seems to run into problems
because he is doing his own thing. That is a great first step to messing up
our own life, is it not? Too often people create their own problems by
following their own skewed decisions and not listening to God’s counsel in
In this parasha we are told another great way to mess up our
lives. This is by ignoring any loving correction by God. After his
rejected offering, Cain does not correct the situation but goes even further
in the wrong direction. His anger was evident by even his body language and
demeanor as God asks “why has your countenance fallen?” He is offered a way
of restoration and blessing but chooses to let the evil inclination take
control of his life. This leads to the tragic murder of Abel, the first
recorded in history. It didn’t have to be this way. What started as a bad
situation for Cain could have been corrected, especially with God’s help in
his life. But he chose the way of anger and resentment which in turn
culminated in murder. This is a sure-fire way to make any situation worse
than it already is: ignore any loving correction from God. As our
tradition says, the gates of repentance are always open. It is the repeated
story of human experience that we mess things up when we do our own thing.
Just look at the daily news! But how doubly tragic when people not only do
their own thing but continue down a road of not receiving loving correction
from their Heavenly Father. The story of Cain reminds us to keep on
listening for God’s good direction for our life.
Believe it or not, Cain takes his tragic experience to an even
deeper level of tzuris. In the midst of doing his own thing and not
listening to correction, he then proceeds to blame everyone else for his
problems! This seems to come out in two of his statements in the Torah.
First, he asks the famous question “ha-shomer achi anochi?/ Am I my
brother’s keeper?” To paraphrase, “God, why did you put me in this
position?” Second, Cain takes issue with the consequences of his actions by
asking “Is my iniquity too great?” Evidently he questions God in the midst
of his judgment. The tragic spiral of Cain’s life has just hit a new depth.
After doing his own thing and ignoring God’s correction, he simply blames
everyone else for his problems! It seems a logical conclusion as the Torah
notes that after all this “Cain left the presence of HaShem.” This was no
doubt both a physical and spiritual departure. How sad. How unnecessary.
But such are some of the lessons from the life of Cain.
Maybe it is quite appropriate that this first parasha of the New
Year reminds us all on how to mess up our lives? If we received the
message of the Holy Days correctly, then we have re-established a good
relationship with God and with those around us. It should be a little taste
of Paradise restored. Let’s not mess up our own lives by following the
example of Cain. Let us stay close and listen to our Messiah Yeshua to
enjoy that abundant life he promised. Shabbat Shalom!
Nov 11-13 UMJC SoCal Women’s Retreat. Join messianic women from many
different congregations around the West. Shabbat services, music, dance,
teaching and many new friends. Contact our office for registration info. Be
November 19, Saturday, 6:00pm. KA 30th Anniversary Luau Celebration! We
have a very special evening planned as we celebrate 30 years of our
messianic synagogue. Luau with Hawaiian theme. Dinner, dance (both Israeli
and Hawaiian) and a great program as we mark this significant milestone.
Tickets $10 per person, $5 for kids under 12. At the Social Hall of
Clairemont Emmanuel Church overlooking Mission Bay. Pick up your tickets at
the shul or call our office. Invite all friends who appreciate our
November 20, Sunday, 6:00pm. Community Thanksgiving Service. Join 6
different congregations that share the same worship facility as we give
thanks to our God for all his blessings. Special music and dance
presentations from various groups including Baptist, Spanish, Jewish and
November 24, Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), 8:15am. United Run/Walk For The
Hungry. A group of KAniks are walking the 5K event and raising support for
the SD Food Bank as well as Jewish Family Service. A great way to help out
the needy on this day of thanks. If you would like to join our group
contact the KA office or register individually at unitedrunforthehungry.org.
December 3, Saturday, 9:00-10:am. Kid’s Hebrew School Begins. We start a
new 15-week semester for all kids 10-13 years old who desire to have a KA
Bar/Bat Mitzvah. There is a fee plus other requirements. Talk to Rabbi
Kasdan for more details.
December 17, Saturday, 6:00pm. Zemer Yeshua Concert at Horton Plaza. Join
the KA worship team (both music and dance) as we present a holiday outreach
concert at this busy mall downtown San Diego. Hanukkah and Israeli music
with dance as we share the light of Messiah. Outdoors at the turnaround
December 24, Saturday, 10:30am. KA Hanukkah Service. Come out for this
special Shabbat celebration as we recall the miracles of the season.
Holiday music, latke potluck luncheon and a special message on the meaning
of Hanukkah for all believers in Messiah. Invite a friend for this great
time. Nes gadol hayah sham!
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont,
Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship
and study. Our current sermon series is “I Peter-The Jewish Walk With
Messiah” which is an detailed study of this New Covenant letter written to
the early Jewish believers in Yeshua.
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the
service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 2 through High
School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and
Dance Ministry: Beginning Dance workshop is held every Shabbat,
10:00-10:25am in the upstairs classroom area. All welcome to learn!
Tuesday Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: Corporate
prayer from 6:30-7:00 as we lift up Israel and the needs of our synagogue.
Class from 7:00-8:30. Current class: “The Jewish Context of the Gospel of
Matthew.” Taught by Rabbi Kasdan using his recently published 400-page
commentary entitled “Matthew Presents Yeshua, King Messiah.” $60 fee per
student (plus book fee) for this 14-week course. The MJISD classes can lead
to a certificate of Messianic Jewish Studies. Call our office for further
“A Taste of Torah” Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This survey of the Torah
class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in
B’reisheet/Genesis. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith!
There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time. Contact Rabbinic
Intern Mark Rantz or Luciano Rivera for info.
All men are invited to this Monday evening group (2nd and 4th at KA) for
connecting, dialogue and encouragement on vital issues that we deal with
today. Always some good discussion and study along with service projects
for men to be involved with. Also a group meets every Wednesday 5am.
Contact Frank Rosas or Rome Remigio for more information.
This dynamic group of women meets monthly for study, friendship and service.
Call the KA office for the latest info on the next luncheon and meeting.
All women are welcome!
Board of Directors
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Frank Rosas Luis Garabay, Patty
Kolb, Tovik Liberman, Laurie Herlickman, Bob Haas
Audio: Gabe Pacheco CD
Duplication: David Stephens
Dance: Diana Martin
Facilities: Jim Scarborough
International: Eddie & Yrena Niewald Music: Eric &
Office: Jan Folb
Oneg: Maria Montelongo
Prayer: Patty Kolb
Resource Center: Alice Hoover
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas
Translation: Paty Garibay
Ushers: Elisabeth Sant’ana
Website: Mark Rantz
Youth/Education: Michael & Jeannie Stinton
with the community!)
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
Men’s Club, Rome Remigio every Wed, 5:00 am or 2nd and 4th Mondays at KA
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Carlsbad, Eddie & Yrena Niewald, 1st & 3rd Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Bay Park, Mike and Sylvia Ferson, every Thurs. 10 am.
Yachad (Singles Fellowship), Bob & Jeannette Haas, Various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano Rivera, Shabbat 4pm-sunset at KA upstairs. Potluck
Tijuana, Yisrael and Aviva Vazquez, 1sr & 3rd Weds plus last Friday, 7pm.
Sisterhood, monthly meeting.
Contact the KA office for more details and contact information.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements of Rabbi Barney Kasdan:
Branches Church in Dana Point, Sunday Nov.20 & 27, 9:30am “Understanding
Israel and Messianic Jews”.
If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within
the Jewish community, please send it to:
P.O. Box 178755
San Diego, CA 92177
Thank you! And may God return a special blessing to you as you bless our
people! (Genesis 12:3)
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