Tidbits of Torah

Parashat Emor – Mentoring Moments

Dear Friends,

I hope that you will join us this Friday night and on Shabbat morning for services as we welcome Cantor Ruth Ross, our High Holiday Cantor, to Rodef Sholom Temple.

I also hope that you will be here this Shabbat morning as Dr. Kim Gipson’s Religious school class will process with their hand-made Torah scrolls along with our full sized Torah scroll!

At Rodef Sholom Temple, we are blessed to be able to offer “mentoring moments” in the form of Jewish education on all levels, beginning with our children and continuing through our adult education programs.

This week’s Torah portion, Emor, has an inspiring message for all who strive to convey their love for Jewish living and their appreciation for Jewish values to others.

Our Parsha opens with the words: “The Lord said to Moses: Emor [speak] to the priests, the sons of Aaron, V’Amarta [and say] to them.” (Leviticus 21:1)

Our Sages ask:  Why does the Torah say: Emor….V’Amarta?  Why does the Torah use two different verbal commands in the opening verse of the Parsah?  Isn’t the second verbal command redundant?

Our Sages suggest to us that words, Emor and V’Amarta, refer to two different modes of communication.  In Hebrew, Emor refers to a gentle, pleasing, fun mode of communication.  V’Amarta stands for a more resolute form of communication.

May we be blessed to know when and how to best communicate our love of Jewish living and appreciation of Jewish values to those around us – whether we are communicating with children or adults.  And may our “mentoring moments” be accepted with an equal measure of love and of appreciation.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Happy Mother’s Day!

Parashat Kedoshim

Dear Friends,

As Mother’s Day approaches, we automatically wish one another Happy Mother’s Day.  It is truly a blessing to be able to feel good about Mother’s Day.  Nevertheless, for various reasons, some of us feel sad on Mother’s Day and it is helpful for us, as individuals and as a community, to be sensitive to the feelings of those around us, even as we celebrate.

This year, Mother’s Day coincides with the reading of Parashat Kedoshim.  This Torah portion begins by introducing the broad concept of holiness and continues with the application of this concept to the everyday details of life.   As we read the details of the Parsha, we see that holiness is to be found in our relationships with God and with parents, with Jews and with non-Jews, with family and with friends, with neighbors close by and with business associates near and far.

Holiness is an aspiration.  It is a goal.  As human beings, we never fully achieve holiness in our lives.  But, we understand the importance of our efforts to strive for holiness.  At the heart of our quest for holiness, lies the Jewish teaching that we are to treat one another with respect. Whether we feel happy or sad this weekend, let us strive to rejoice in our connections with one another.

Let us do our best to make Mother’s Day a time of increased holiness, increased sensitivity and increased blessing for all!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

The “Light” Response to Antisemitism

Parashat Acharey Mot

The “Light” Response to Antisemitism

Shabbat Machar Chodesh

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh

May 4, 2019 – 29 Nisan 5779  


Dear Friends,

The name of our weekly Parsha, Acharey Mot literally means: “After the death of….”

How did Aaron, the Kohen HaGadol [the High Priest] respond after the sudden, shocking, unsettling death of two of his four sons?  How did his family and his community help him cope?  How do we respond after yet another antisemitic attack occurs in our country?  How do we move forward? What is our response?

The pain is palpable to all of us.  The loss is real to all of us.  The sorrow is overwhelming to those directly affected.  This is true now and this was true in the Biblical story of Aaron and his sons.

The Bible helps us to find a way forward.  It helps us to reach for a response to shocking loss, to lives cut short for no reason that we can fathom.

The way forward is the way that is described in Parashat Acharey Mot.  The way forward is to light the light of service, the light of community, the light of determination, and the light of love.  This is the time to stand firm.  This is the time to show up.  This is the time to support one another.  Every bit of light is helpful to dispel the darkness.  But, when those lights stand shoulder to shoulder, the result is greater light than when the lights are few and far apart.  This is the time to generate more light in the world.

I hope to see you this Shabbat when we will be reciting the blessing for the new Jewish month of Iyyar.  Rosh Chodesh Iyyar will be on Saturday night, Sunday and Monday.  May it be a month of comfort and joy.  May it be a month of healing.

We gathered this past week at the UJC to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Now we move forward to Rosh Chodesh Iyyar and following that, on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, to the Yom HaZikaron [Remembrance Day] to honor those who gave their lives so that Israel might be established and maintained.  The pain of loss is with us.  But immediately after that, the light of determination, the light of celebration, the light of life in the face of darkness is on our calendar.  On Wednesday night and on Thursday we will mark the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut [Israel Independence Day].  We will mark Yom HaAtzmaut with special prayers and readings at our regular 7:45 am Thursday morning minyan next week.  Join us, if you are able to be there!

I look forward to seeing you and I know that we all look forward to seeing one another and to generating more light in our world.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror