Torah Tidbits


It’s All in What We Perceive…

Shabbat Parashat Vayera

October 19, 2013 – 15 Cheshvan 5774

It’s All in What We Perceive…

This week I had the privilege of attending the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Centennial Convention in Baltimore.  Over 1200 people joined to celebrate, to network, to learn and to create new and exciting avenues of opportunity for the Jewish people.

The theme of the Convention was: “The Conversation of the Century.”  At the gala dinner on the first night of the Convention, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) honored its founding congregations, its members, its leaders and its youth.  They also made special mention of all congregations that were 100 years old or older, whether or not they were part of the founding congregations, inviting the representatives of those congregations to stand and be recognized.  Stan Glasofer and I represented Rodef Sholom Temple at the gala dinner and Rodef Sholom Temple became a part of the conversation through our presence at the Convention.

As we participate in Jewish gatherings and as we study our sources and our unique traditions, we are all in conversation – not only with our contemporaries, but with the century past, and with earlier generations of Jewish history as well.   And, the conversation is as deep and as meaningful as we care to make it.

This week’s Torah portion of Vayera brings home the fact that a text, in and of itself, lies dormant, until we read it and make it our own.  We learn that Abraham sat at the opening of his tent, in the heat of the day, watching to see if he could be helpful to any travelers who happened along the road.  It was that act of being both connected to the tent, yet open to new opportunities, that enabled Abraham to see three men, yet to perceive the presence of God in that moment.

As we continue the conversation with our sacred texts, with our family, friends, congregation, and community,  may we remain connected to our sources and to our history, yet open to new avenues of expression that will allow us to perceive God’s presence in our lives and in the world around us.  And, may the “Conversation of the Century” inspire us to continue our own conversations as we move into the second century of Rodef Sholom Temple’s history as well!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror