Uncategorized

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

 

Tidbits of Torah

2019-02-11 18:21:56 RST Web Admin
       

 Parashat Terumah

Purposeful Presence…  

February 9, 2019 – 4 First Adar 5779  

Dear Friends,

 

Our chumash translates the Hebrew name of our weekly Torah portion: “Terumah” as: “gifts.”  This is a fine translation, as long as one understands “gifts” as “contributions,” not simply “presents.”

Our people were commanded to bring “Terumah” to collectively create the Holy Sanctuary in the desert.

Interestingly, the creation of the world is described in the Bible in forty some verses, all in all.  The collaborative creation of the Sanctuary in the desert is described in the Bible in some four hundred verses!

Clearly, the Torah is sending us the message that God’s creative work, important and holy as it was, is secondary to our human collaborative and creative work.  We create and collaborate with one another and with God, to give our lives purpose.  We contribute so that our lives are enriched.

God is not looking for our “presents.”  God is looking for us to be present, to be active, to be creative!  Our purposeful presence in collaborative and creative work is the most powerful reflection of God’s Presence in our midst. Through our contributions to Holy projects and to our collaborative efforts, God is looking to awaken our awareness of God’s continuing Presence in our midst, day after day.

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

 

Posted in: Tidbits of Torah Read more... 0 comments

Tidbits of Torah

2019-02-01 14:36:07 RST Web Admin
       

 Parashat Mishpatim

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh 

I Know How You Feel….  

February 2, 2019 – 27 Shevat 5779  

Dear Friends,

 

How many times have we said to someone:  “I know how you feel….”?   This is such a simple phrase, yet so powerful.   When we say it in a heartfelt way, we express our empathy with the person who has just shared his/her story with us.

But, how many times do we say: “I know how you feel” to a stranger?

Probably not too many times!

Empathy comes naturally to us when we feel a connection with people. But, when we relate to “others”, to “strangers,” we need to work on ourselves in order for us to relate in an empathetic manner.  And, that is what the Torah challenges us to do!

The Torah teaches us that we are supposed to treat the stranger with compassion.  It challenges us to remember that our ancestors were once slaves in Egypt. We are supposed to remember and repeat that ancestral story of slavery, over and over.  We were strangers in the land of Egypt.  And, we were mistreated.  Hopefully, having reminded ourselves of this story, we can more easily empathize not only with people in our closest circle, but also with strangers, with “other” people with whom we may have very little in common!

The Torah invites us to stretch our spiritual selves and to apply our ethics not only to those in our closest circle but also to those beyond our circle.  The Torah wants us to embrace the stranger and to encompass a broader segment of the population around us with the warmth of our caring tradition.  The Torah wants us to be able to say: “I know how you feel” to the strangers in our midst so that we remember to treat all people with dignity and with respect.

What a beautiful Torah we have!  May we preserve it, remembering our history, and using it to fashion a better world in the days to come.

This Shabbat we will recite the blessing of the new month of Adar Rishon (the first of the two months of Adar in this Jewish leap year).  Rosh Chodesh Adar Rishon will be on Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week.  May it be a month of great blessing and of joy!

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

 

Posted in: Tidbits of Torah Read more... 0 comments

Tidbits of Torah

2019-01-18 15:31:08 RST Web Admin
       

 Parashat B’Shalach

Shabbat Shirah

Faith, Fortitude and Freedom 

January 19, 2019 – 13 Shevat 5779  

Dear Friends,

 

MLK weekend coincides with Shabbat Shirah – the Shabbat when we read the amazing Song of the Sea!  Our people experienced the miracle of the parting of the waters.  Our people crossed the Red Sea, sealing their escape from the bonds of slavery.

Yet, the road to the Promised Land was not a smooth path.  Our people faced many challenges.  And, we, like them, are not there yet.  Faith, fortitude, and determination.   That is what is needed to get us to the ultimate vision of freedom!

This morning I woke up and these words came to my mind:

It is not an open road.
It is not an easy path.
Our people told the story
Of passing through the sea.
One challenge overcome.
Breathe a sigh of relief.
Gather strength
For as long as our vision remains in tact
And we take the next step…
There is hope
That some day
We will arrive
In the Promised Land.

 

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

 

Posted in: Tidbits of Torah Read more... 0 comments

Tidbits of Torah

2019-01-11 17:47:34 RST Web Admin
       

 Parashat Bo

Inclusive Communities 

January 12, 2019 – 6 Shevat 5779  

Dear Friends,

 

The wonder of Torah is its eternal relevance throughout the generations.

This week’s Parsha reminds us of just how important it is for us to support inclusiveness in our communities.

When Pharaoh said to Moses: “Okay, you go and take the men with you,”  But, Moses was determined.  He stood his ground.  And, Moses replied to Pharaoh: “We will go with our young and our old, we will go with our sons and our daughters” (Exodus 10:9).

Later, in the Parsha, mention is made of preparations for the first Passover and the celebration of the Exodus that is about to happen.  We read in the Torah: “There shall be one law for the native-born, and for the stranger who resides among you (Exodus 12:49).

Inclusive communities benefit from their determination to respect the various stages of human life.   They flourish when they recognize and value various life perspectives of a wide variety of folks.  Not everyone is the same.  But, all are significant.  All are created by God.  All are valued.  The concept of inclusive communities represents a goal that reflects the highest values of our Torah.

 

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

 

Posted in: Tidbits of Torah Read more... 0 comments

Tidbits of Torah

2019-01-04 18:45:25 RST Web Admin
       

 Parashat Vaera

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh 

A True Test of Leadership 

January 5, 2019 – 28 Tevet 5779  

Dear Friends,

 

Whether we believe in miracles or not, and no matter how we define miracles, we are all aware that, for the most part, nature follows its “natural” course.  And, as part of our appreciation of “nature”, our lunar calendar and our solar calendars both inform our Jewish lives.  Major Jewish holidays coincide with the changing seasons of the year.  Jewish months coincide with the lunar cycles of the moon.

 

And so, this Shabbat, we will be reciting the blessing for the upcoming new Jewish month of Shevat.  Rosh Chodesh Shevat will be on Sunday night and on Monday of this coming week!  And, two weeks later, on the 15th of Shevat, we will celebrate Tu B’Shevat – the New Year of the Trees!  May Shevat be a month of new beginnings – a month in which new ideas blossom – even as our trees drink in the depth of winter, naturally preparing themselves for the blossoms of the coming spring!

 

Although nature follows its “natural” course and human beings are a “natural” part of God’s creation, human beings can also rise above and beyond the regular cycles of nature.  Human beings have free will.  And, as such, human beings can rise to surprising heights and exhibit true and positive leadership traits.

 

In this week’s Torah portion, we read of the leadership of our people and of the leadership of the Egyptian people.  We read of Moses and of Aaron, and we read of Pharaoh.  What is most interesting is that when Pharaoh begs Moses to dispel the plague of frogs, Moses agrees, saying to Pharaoh: I agree to dispel the plague “as per your request.”  The Torah tells us that Moses specifically asks Pharaoh:  l’matai [When] shall I fulfill your request to reign in the frogs?  And, the Torah relates to us Pharaoh’s most surprising response:“l’machar” [tomorrow]  (Exodus 8:5-6)!

 

Why didn’t Pharaoh ask for the immediate rescinding of the plague of frogs????  Why “tomorrow”?

 

One can only surmise that Pharaoh didn’t identify with the suffering of his own people any more than he identified with the suffering of the Israelites!

 

The Torah’s message is that true leadership is leadership that understands the importance of removing plagues that affect people, as soon as possible!

 

True leadership is a human choice that spurs us to rise up above the regular cycles of nature, to stand up for what is right, and thereby to bring more blessing into people’s lives.

 

May we see our potential for heightening the sense of shared blessing this Shabbat, this coming week and throughout the upcoming Jewish month of Shevat!

 

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

 

Posted in: Tidbits of Torah Read more... 0 comments

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