Our Torah portion this week relates the final plagues visited upon Egypt, which ultimately cause Pharaoh to let our ancestors go free. Jewish tradition has an ambivalent relationship with the plagues. On the one hand, we are to celebrate them as “signs and wonders” that helped secure our release from slavery. On the other hand, we are bidden to decrease our joy by taking a drop of wine for each of them from our seder cups. This ambivalence is a reminder that, while we ought to celebrate our victories, we should avoid indulging in schadenfreude, which is that charming German word for the “pleasure derived by someone from another’s misfortune.” Rejoicing in our success is one thing, celebrating the downfall of others, even our enemies, is another thing entirely.
Strength of tradition and warmth of community are at the heart of our congregation, yet we are so much more. We are a center for Jewish life, a home away from home where you and your loved ones can share with us in the life-long Jewish journey of learning and discovery.
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Temple Bat Yahm | 1011 Camelback Street | Newport Beach, CA | 92660 | (949) 644-1999