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A Message From Cantor Ben Bazian

12/29/2015 09:19:55 AM


Dear Friends,
As Eva and I are in the final preparations for the wedding of our son and future daughter, Sam & Jessica, this weekend, I was tasked to prepare a D’var Torah for the Shabbat meals.  How wonderful that I have a son who made it so easy for me to connect the this week's torah reading with our Simcha.
Parashat Vayechi culminates the story of our Patriarchs with the passing of Jacob and Joseph.   It starts with Joseph and his sons approaching Jacob and he asks, “Mi Eila who are they?  There are various commentaries as to why Jacob did not recognize his grandchildren.  Some say it was because of his old age, others argue that G-d removed his inspiration due to their unworthiness to receive a blessing from Jacob.
Joseph responds to his father, “these are the sons that G-d has given to me with this” (asher natan li Elohim bazeh).  Rashi states that the term bazeh refers to his engagement document and marriage contract, the Ketubah.  This was Joseph’s way of showing Jacob that the boys were indeed worthy of his blessing and that they were not the product of the lecherous proclivities of the Egyptians.  Joseph showed his father that even in the midst of depravity he maintained the family's high standards of morality and faith.  Although Joseph was highly immersed in Egyptian culture, his Israelite identity and relationship with the Almighty never wavered.
Many years ago, I read a beautiful but highly technical commentary that unfortunately I cannot properly attribute to its author.  The question is asked, why is the marriage contract called a Ketubah?  The document should be referred to as a Ketav, writing.  There are seemingly 2 extraneous letters.  Ketav is spelled כתב while Ketubah is spelled כתובה.  Why the extra Vav ו and Heh ה ?
The Ketubah is used to unite a man and a women in the bonds of holy matrimony.  It outlines the obligations assumed as part of this bond and its standardized text has been used for many centuries.  The Hebrew words for man and woman are איש and אשה respectively.  Both words have two letters in common - the Aleph א and the Shin ש.  However, there are two unique letters, the Yud ' in man and the Heh ה in woman.  If we combine the man and woman and the Ketubah, the sacred marriage contract, the four letter name of Hashem is revealed. We have the Yud and Heh from man and woman and combined with the extra Vav and Heh from the Ketubah thus we construct the name of Hashem.  In a loving Jewish marriage, Hashem is ever present.
When a couple marries we pray that they build a Bayit Neeman B’Yisroel, a faithful Jewish home.  They do this by including Jewish values, rituals, love of God and each other in their household. 
Eva and I would love for you to share in our Simcha on Shabbat January 2, 2016 as we will host a Sheva Brachot luncheon for the newlyweds after services.
Shabbat Shalom,

Cantor Ben Bazian

Sat, June 22 2024 16 Sivan 5784