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Tidbits of Torah

Shabbat Parashat Pinchas

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh 

Profound and Perplexing Pieces in Siddur Lev Shalem      

July 7, 2018 – 24 Tammuz 5778 

Dear Friends,

 

Our recent heat wave and July 4th having come and gone are clear indications that summer is upon us!   I hope that you have had an opportunity to celebrate July 4th and that you have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the summer months!

Beginning this coming Monday, July 9th, Tidbits of Torah (and I) will be on vacation for  three weeks.  However, I take this opportunity to throw out the following two questions to you in the hopes that I will find your responses in my email inbox when I return from my vacation.

Here are the questions:

1. What is your favorite choice of a profound reading/prayer/commentary in Siddur Lev Shalem?  Please say a few words on why you chose that piece.

2.  What is your choice of a perplexing reading/prayer/commentary in Siddur Lev Shalem?  Say a few words on why you chose that piece.

In your response/s, please be sure to include the title and the Siddur Lev Shalem page number of your chosen piece/s!

Now that I got those questions out to you…I hope to see you at Friday night and Shabbat services this Shabbat!  On Saturday morning we will be blessing the new Jewish month of Av.  Rosh Chodesh Av will be on Thursday night and on Friday of next week.  May it be a month of blessing and of comfort to all.

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Tidbits of Torah

 

Pesach - Food for Thought and for Discussion on Passover

2019-04-19 13:15:26 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

I share with you my free translation of the contents of my son’s recent text message which contained an excerpt of the testimony of Ben Gurion in 1946.   It is great food for thought and for discussion for Passover….

In 1946 Ben Gurion testified (as head of the Jewish Agency) before a Joint Anglo-American Investigation Committee regarding the Jewish refugees of that time, as follows:

“Three hundred plus years ago a ship set sail to the new world and its name was the Mayflower.   This was a major event in the history of England and of the United States. But, I am curious to know whether there is even one Englishman who knows exactly when that ship set sail; do they know how many people were aboard that ship; and exactly what kind of bread they ate when they set out on that journey?  In contrast, over three thousand three hundred years before the Mayflower set sail, the Jews left Egypt, and every Jew around the world today knows the exact date of the Exodus – the fifteenth day of Nissan; and everyone knows exactly what bread they ate: Matzahs; and to this very day, Jews the world over eat Matzah on the fifteenth day of Nissan, in America, in Russia and in other countries.  And they retell the story of the Exodus and the stories of the troubles the Jews endured since they were scattered once again in the Diaspora.  And they conclude with two statements: “This year we are slaves; next year may we be free.  This year we are here; next year may we be in Jerusalem, in Zion, in the Land of Israel. ” That is the nature of the Jewish people.”

Food for thought and for discussion…

And, please see the Pesah Tips for 5779 below….

Shabbat Shalom and a very happy and kosher Pesah!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Pesah Tips 5779

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 18 –

Bedikat Hametz – (Search for leaven): This is customarily done on the night before Passover immediately after sunset.

This ritual is especially effective and enjoyable for children…This is what we do:

  1. a) Make sure all Hametz has been removed or locked away, with the exception of  what will be needed for the morning for early breakfast….
  2. b)    Place several pieces of bread (of visible size) in various locations throughout the house.
  3. c) Make the following blessing: Baruch ata Adonai, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al biur Hametz. Then, proceed (traditionally with lighted candle, feather or brush and a box or cloth for the bread collected) to look for any leaven that may be found in the house.
  4. d) After all the bread pieces are found and gathered, make the following declaration: “All manner of leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen or have not removed, or have no knowledge of, shall be null and disowned as the dust of the earth.”

Friday Morning – April 19 –

Ta’anit Bekhorim (Fast of the Firstborn) – This daytime fast applies to the firstborn of either a mother or father. If you participate in a siyyum, completion of study of a tractate of rabbinic literature, this may be followed by a se’udat mitavah, a meal accompanying the performance of a mitzvah. Here, the performance of the mitzvah is the completion of study. All firstborn in attendance at a siyyum are then permitted to eat!

Biur Hametz (Disposing of the Hametz)-The container of hametz, gathered the evening before, is to be burned. The burning of the hamtez should be completed by the fifth hour after sunrise. No blessing is recited. However, a slightly modified version of the formula for nullification of hametz is recited, as follows: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have or have not seen, which I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”

Preparation for Yom Tov:

On Yom Tov, kindling a new fire is not permitted; however, the use of an existing fire for cooking or other purposes is permitted. On Shabbat, neither kindling a new fire nor transferring an existing fire is permitted.

To allow you to light candles for the second day of Yom Tov (Saturday night) ensure you have a fire burning before the beginning of Shabbat that will continue to burn at least until after dark when Shabbat ends. A pilot light or a long-burning (25-hour-plus) candle may be used for this purpose. During Yom Tov, one can light successive candles by transferring the flame.

On Friday night when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Saturday night, after dark, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”  

On Friday night the candles are lit before sundown. On Saturday night the candles are lit at least 25 minutes after sunset, by transferring the fire from an existing flame.

Most importantly, have a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Pesah and may this year be a year of true redemption and peace for us and for all of Israel and for all peoples everywhere!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Kosher Passover!

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Sacred Connectors!

2019-04-12 17:09:33 RST Web Admin
Dear Friends,

What inspiration can reading Parashat Metsora impart to us…especially as we prepare for Passover and for the Passover Seder?

Parashat Metsora reminds us that we must care for the vulnerable members of our communities.  The Metsora [person afflicted with something akin to Leprosy] is literally sent “outside” of the camp.  But, the kohen [priest] regularly maintains contact with the Metsora, visits with that person, and ultimately brings that person back into the community.

The Torah teaches us that ideally our people will become a mamlechet kohanim – a priestly nation.  As such, our goal will  be to become a nation that appreciates not only our own humanity and freedom, but also the humanity and freedom of others.  Passover reminds us that we can all strive to be “connectors”, much as the priest who maintained contact with the Metsora was in ancient times.

As we are getting rid of the Chametz at this time of the year, let’s not forget that ridding ourselves of  Chametz is not only ridding ourselves of leaven and all sorts of breads and cakes that rise as we bake them. Ridding ourselves of Chametz is also a spiritual metaphor for pushing aside our sometimes overblown egos!  It is both a spiritual metaphor for developing our gratitude for the simple things in life and a powerful reminder of the importance of humility.

When we sit down at the Seder table we say that all who are hungry are invited to join us.

Passover is a time to remember that reaching out to a person who feels like an “outsider” is truly a sacred task.

We were redeemed from Egypt not only for ourselves, but also that we may become a nation of “sacred connectors!”

And, please see the Pesah Tips for 5779 below….

Shabbat Shalom and a very happy and kosher Pesah!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

Pesah Tips 5779

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 18 –

Bedikat Hametz – (Search for leaven): This is customarily done on the night before Passover immediately after sunset.

This ritual is especially effective and enjoyable for children…This is what we do:

a) Make sure all Hametz has been removed or locked away, with the exception of  what will be needed for the morning for early breakfast….

b)    Place several pieces of bread (of visible size) in various locations throughout the house.

c) Make the following blessing: Baruch ata Adonai, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al biur Hametz. Then, proceed (traditionally with lighted candle, feather or brush and a box or cloth for the bread collected) to look for any leaven that may be found in the house.

d) After all the bread pieces are found and gathered, make the following declaration: “All manner of leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen or have not removed, or have no knowledge of, shall be null and disowned as the dust of the earth.”

Friday Morning – April 19 –

Ta’anit Bekhorim (Fast of the Firstborn) – This daytime fast applies to the firstborn of either a mother or father. If you participate in a siyyum, completion of study of a tractate of rabbinic literature, this may be followed by a se’udat mitavah, a meal accompanying the performance of a mitzvah. Here, the performance of the mitzvah is the completion of study. All firstborn in attendance at a siyyum are then permitted to eat!

Biur Hametz (Disposing of the Hametz)-The container of hametz, gathered the evening before, is to be burned. The burning of the hamtez should be completed by the fifth hour after sunrise. No blessing is recited. However, a slightly modified version of the formula for nullification of hametz is recited, as follows: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have or have not seen, which I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”

Preparation for Yom Tov:

On Yom Tov, kindling a new fire is not permitted; however, the use of an existing fire for cooking or other purposes is permitted. On Shabbat, neither kindling a new fire nor transferring an existing fire is permitted.

To allow you to light candles for the second day of Yom Tov (Saturday night) ensure you have a fire burning before the beginning of Shabbat that will continue to burn at least until after dark when Shabbat ends. A pilot light or a long-burning (25-hour-plus) candle may be used for this purpose. During Yom Tov, one can light successive candles by transferring the flame.

On Friday night when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Saturday night, after dark, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”  

On Friday night the candles are lit before sundown. On Saturday night the candles are lit at least 25 minutes after sunset, by transferring the fire from an existing flame.

Most importantly, have a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Pesah and may this year be a year of true redemption and peace for us and for all of Israel and for all peoples everywhere!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Kosher Passover!

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Spruce Up Your Seder (And, Pesah Tips for 5779)

2019-04-05 13:25:01 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us at services this Friday night and Shabbat morning as we have the opportunity to meet a High Holiday Cantor candidate!  Cantor Luke Hawley will join us for services and looks forward to meeting as many of us as possible!

Looking for ideas to spruce up your Seder?  How about this idea…?

We say: “B’chol dor va’dor chayav adam lirot et atzmo ke’ilu hu yatza mi mitzrayim In every generation, each of us is invited to see our individual self as if each of us, personally, was there and experienced the redemption and the Exodus from Egypt.”

Imagine if each of us had a small hand held mirror available as part of our table setting for the Seder.  Imagine if each of us held up our mirror as we recited this very significant part of the Seder and had a chance to contemplate how our individual enslavement and our individual redemption connected with the collective enslavement and collective redemption of our people in ancient times….

Now, imagine if we allow ourselves a bit of time to imagine how each one of us is currently enslaved in some way.  And, time to imagine how we might currently be able to see a way forward to greater freedom and to greater purpose in our lives…What would that look like?

And, moving from individual redemption to communal redemption….We might ask ourselves to think about how our individual story relates to the collective story of who we are today as a community and as a people….

If you do try this idea at your Seder, I would be interested to hear how it went and any thoughts or comments on this idea.

Also, I would be interested to hear any of your thoughts and suggestions for sprucing up the Seder!

And, please see the Pesah Tips for 5779 below….

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov [wishes for a good Jewish month of Nisan]!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Pesah Tips 5779

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 18 –

Bedikat Hametz – (Search for leaven): This is customarily done on the night before Passover immediately after sunset.

This ritual is especially effective and enjoyable for children…This is what we do:

a) Make sure all Hametz has been removed or locked away, with the exception of  what will be needed for the morning for early breakfast….

b)    Place several pieces of bread (of visible size) in various locations throughout the house.

c) Make the following blessing: Baruch ata Adonai, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al biur Hametz. Then, proceed (traditionally with lighted candle, feather or brush and a box or cloth for the bread collected) to look for any leaven that may be found in the house.

d) After all the bread pieces are found and gathered, make the following declaration: “All manner of leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen or have not removed, or have no knowledge of, shall be null and disowned as the dust of the earth.”

Friday Morning – April 19 –

Ta’anit Bekhorim (Fast of the Firstborn) – This daytime fast applies to the firstborn of either a mother or father. If you participate in a siyyum, completion of study of a tractate of rabbinic literature, this may be followed by a se’udat mitavah, a meal accompanying the performance of a mitzvah. Here, the performance of the mitzvah is the completion of study. All firstborn in attendance at a siyyum are then permitted to eat!

Biur Hametz (Disposing of the Hametz)-The container of hametz, gathered the evening before, is to be burned. The burning of the hamtez should be completed by the fifth hour after sunrise. No blessing is recited. However, a slightly modified version of the formula for nullification of hametz is recited, as follows: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have or have not seen, which I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”

Preparation for Yom Tov:

On Yom Tov, kindling a new fire is not permitted; however, the use of an existing fire for cooking or other purposes is permitted. On Shabbat, neither kindling a new fire nor transferring an existing fire is permitted.

To allow you to light candles for the second day of Yom Tov (Saturday night) ensure you have a fire burning before the beginning of Shabbat that will continue to burn at least until after dark when Shabbat ends. A pilot light or a long-burning (25-hour-plus) candle may be used for this purpose. During Yom Tov, one can light successive candles by transferring the flame.

On Friday night when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Saturday night, after dark, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”  

On Friday night the candles are lit before sundown. On Saturday night the candles are lit at least 25 minutes after sunset, by transferring the fire from an existing flame.

Most importantly, have a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Pesah and may this year be a year of true redemption and peace for us and for all of Israel and for all peoples everywhere!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Kosher Passover!

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Remember, Renew, Refresh

2019-03-22 12:27:19 RST Web Admin

 Parashat Tav

Remember, Renew, Refresh!    

March 23, 2019 – 16 Adar II 5779  

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

The eternal light in the synagogue represents the sparkle of the human soul and the holiness of the spirit of life.  It flickers and it inspires. But, we need to remember to keep it glowing. We need to renew our connection to it.  And, when we do, we find that it actually “speaks to us.”  It refreshes our soul.

Not unlike the human soul, and the flame of Torah itself, the eternal light can be neglected, forgotten or taken for granted.

It is up to us to remember the potential of the eternal light.  It is up to us to keep the flame glowing.  Day in and day out.  Whether we are interested in affirming a human relationship or enhancing a spiritual relationship – the spark of any relationship is only as strong as our renewed and refreshed interest in it.

Parashat Tav includes the commandment to the Kohen to renew the flame of the eternal light in the Tabernacle, day after day.

But, the language of the Torah suggests to us that the light of the eternal light “al ha’mizbeyach [on the altar]” is dependent upon the s

trength of the internal light in the soul of the Kohen “bo [in him].”

From the commandment to the Kohen to renew the eternal light day after day, we learn that, as we grow and develop, our enthusiasm for any relationship (including our relationship to Torah, community, and to Jewish living) takes continued commitment, conscious renewal, and refreshed interest!

Ask any of our volunteers why they continue to volunteer and you will hear that the best way to stay connected and interested is to add your personal perspective, your personal wisdom, and your personal take to the project at hand!  So, thank you to all of our volunteers for keeping the light of RST glowing, day after day!   It is your light that refreshes our light and continues to make RST relevant, current, and interesting!

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Tidbits of Torah

2019-03-08 15:18:53 RST Web Admin
       

 Parashat Pekuday

Who Gets the Credit?   

March 9, 2019 – 2 Adar II 5779  

Dear Friends,

 

We are used to giving people credit when they do the work.  And, that is only fair.  But, even when we do the work, doesn’t God get any credit for inspiring us?  For giving us strength?  Wisdom?  Understanding?

 

Too often, we forget that God plays a part in our successes.  We turn to God when the going gets rough.  But, when we succeed….we take the credit for ourselves!

 

In our weekly Torah portion, we read of the actual construction of the sanctuary in the desert.  The instructions had been imparted to the people in advance of the building.  Detail after detail, our people were told how to construct the sanctuary.  Then, the Torah tells us in great detail how our people carried out the instructions exactly as commanded by God.

 

Yet, at the very moment when all the pieces came together, the Torah tells us that it “was completed (Exodus 39:32).”  Our Sages teach us that rather than saying that our people did it all on their own, the Torah’s language hints at the fact that by virtue of God’s miraculous intervention – everything came together exactly as it was intended.  Yet, God gives our people full credit for the entire project, even though it did require the help of God’s miracle to bring it all together.

 

If God (and the Torah) give our people all the credit when completing the job required God’s helping hand, then we should give God at least some of the credit when we complete a project in which God aided us all along by giving us inspiration, strength, wisdom and understanding.

 

Who gets the credit for our successes?  We do!  But, so does God!

 

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

 

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Men’s Club Kosher-for-Passover Wine Sale

The Men’s Club announces its annual Kosher-for-Passover wine sale!

There will be a wine tasting and ordering during the Purim “Shindig in Shushan” on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. The order deadline is March 1, 2013.

Checks should be made payable to the RST Men’s Club. The point of contact is Steve Meyerson at 874-8550 or steve.meyerson@cox.net