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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

 

Shabbat Parashat Naso - Father's Day

2019-06-14 17:18:40 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

This past week we have all seen heightened advertisements enticing us to buy gifts for Father’s Day….Mostly the ads say: Do you have your gift ready?

Interestingly, our Torah portion of Naso includes the gifts brought to the Tabernacle by each of the Nesi’im [the chiefs] of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Each one of the tribal leaders is named as we call people to the Torah – the person’s name, son of the person’s father’s name.

Clearly these were all men.  Presumably all were fathers.  But they were not the recipients of the gifts.  They were the bearers of the gifts, as representative of their respective tribes.

For those of us who want to honor our fathers with a gift this weekend, the act of buying a gift and of giving the gift can be very meaningful and very joyous.

Just imagine the intensity of the joy attached to the bringing of the gifts to the Tabernacle, in the name of an entire tribe!

Gifts are an expression of gratitude, of respect, of love.

May we all be blessed with many occasions to give and to receive the blessings of gratitude, of respect and of love in our lives, in our families, in our communities and in our world!

Shabbat Shalom and a happy Father’s Day!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Shabbat Parashat BaMidbar and Shavuot - Open Our Hearts to Your Torah

2019-06-07 16:38:01 RST Web Admin
       

 Shabbat Parashat BaMidbar

and Shavuot (Saturday night, Sunday and Monday) 

Open Our Hearts to Your Torah   

June 8, 2019 – 5 Sivan 5779  

Dear Friends,

This Shabbat will be followed immediately by the two days of Shavuot – the holiday which celebrates the giving of the Torah!  For the traditional lighting of the candles on Saturday night in honor of Shavuot, we ensure that we have an existing fire from which we may light the candles.  This existing fire should be lit and burning non-stop from before Shabbat begins!

On both nights of Shavuot, Saturday night and Sunday night, we recite two blessings when lighting the candles: The first blessing “Barukh atta Adonai, elohaynu melech haOlam, asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” is followed by the Shehecheyanu blessing.

This Shabbat as we prepare for Shavuot, we read the first Torah portion of the fourth book of Moses, BaMidbar.  In English we refer to this fourth Book of the Torah as “Numbers.”  In Hebrew, the word BaMidbar, actually means: In the Wilderness!

I mention this literal translation of BaMidbar as “wilderness” because the Torah is more than a story of what happened to our people in ancient times.  The Torah is our guide in life.  How often might we find ourselves in our own personal state of “wilderness” or “bewilderment”…?

Just as is the case in the physical wilderness – the more complicated our lives, the more uncertainty we face, the more options lie before us….That is when we may turn to Torah and to one another for spiritual guidance and for communal support!

On Sunday morning, the first day of Shavuot, we will celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, by chanting the Torah reading that includes the Ten Commandments!  Or, should I say: the Ten Guideposts?!

This weekend, let us acknowledge our “bewilderment” and find our way forward.  Let us celebrate our lives, our tradition, our Torah, our congregation and all the good that comes of being connected to one another on Friday night, on Saturday, on Sunday morning, and on Monday morning!  Yizkor will be recited on Monday at our services.  As we say in our prayers:  Open our Hearts to Your Torah!  Let us remember to be there for ourselves, as well as for others!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

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Parashat B'har - Mountains and Memories

2019-05-24 12:08:29 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

How many mountains have we climbed?  How many memories have we acquired?  Our Torah portion begins by mentioning Mount Sinai.  Even if we have not personally climbed that particular mountain, we retain a communal memory of that amazing mountain where God appeared and spoke with all of us.  Midrash tells us that each one of us was there, at Mount Sinai, when our people received the Torah.

Why was the Torah revealed on a mountain, rather than on some flat terrain?  Perhaps to remind us that, from time to time, we all climb mountains in our lives.  We all face challenges.  But we were all present when the Torah was given on Mount Sinai.  Our Torah is a precious gift that helps us face our personal and communal mountains armed with spiritual tools, with guiding principles, that help us to rise to any occasion.

On this Memorial Day weekend, we remember those who climbed mountain after mountain so that we would be able to live in freedom in our country.  We honor their memory and pray that they rest in peace, knowing that we are grateful for their service and for the liberties we enjoy thanks to their dedication and caring.

Mountains and memories are intertwined this weekend in more ways than one….

May the memory of all those who gave their lives in the service of our nation be for a blessing.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Parashat Emor - Mentoring Moments

2019-05-17 16:10:55 RST Web Admin

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

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Happy Mother's Day!

2019-05-10 17:00:33 RST Web Admin

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

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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