Torah Tidbits

Renewable Energy
Shabbat Parashat Chukat
Rosh Chodesh  Tammuz – Day 1
June 28, 2014 – 30 Sivan 5774    featured-rabbi

Renewable Energy

This week’s Torah portion invites us to explore the concept of renewable energy!

No, I am not referring to the debates about oil, or natural gas, or fracking.  I am referring to the spiritual energy that sustains us throughout our lives.   Each Shabbat, we have the opportunity to renew our spiritual energy.  But, sometimes, our spiritual energy may be seriously depleted and we may not even be aware of it.

Our parsha relates the incident in which Moses struck the rock, instead of speaking to the rock as God had commanded.

As I read it, Moses hit the rock because he was spiritually depleted, more than he realized.
This incident occurred right after Moses’ sister, Miriam, passed away and Moses may not have realized how much he had relied on Miriam’s support throughout his life.  And, he may have underestimated her contribution to the leadership of the people

Moses did not take the time to renew his spiritual energy before dealing with the crisis at hand.  Sadly, Moses was then not allowed to enter the Promised Land with the people he had led out of Egypt and through the 40 years in the desert.

Sometimes, the loss of a person close to us can spiritually deplete us, more than we realize.  In Moses’ case, it was the loss of his sister.

Jewish tradition, in its wisdom, gives us the opportunity to mourn our losses, in stages, enabling us to regain our spiritual energy and to reaffirm a positive perspective in life.

The first week of mourning, beginning after the burial, is called the week of Shiva (seven days of mourning).  There are many rituals associated with the week of Shiva.  Then, we continue with lessened rituals, to say kaddish for the month following the burial, and in the case of losing one’s parent, for the entire year from the date of death.  Thus, in stages, and with the support of community, we regain our spiritual energy and reaffirm our commitment to life.

Another source of renewed energy is in the celebration of the birth of a child.  This week we were happy to share the announcement of a baby boy, born to Heather and Mark Jacobson, and will be celebrating the baby naming of a new baby girl, born into the Becker and Bereano families at Rodef Sholom Temple on Shabbat morning!  These joyous occasions are sources of renewed energy not only for the individual families, but for our entire community as well!

May we all be privileged to share in the renewable energy resources of Jewish life  –  Shabbat, as well as many simchas – in the years to come!

This Shabbat is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz.  May the month of Tammuz be a month of blessing, of healing, of comfort, and of renewed energy, for us, for all the people Israel, and for all good people everywhere!

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!

Rabbi Gilah Dror