Torah Tidbits

Wisdom, Understanding and Divine Inspiration      Rabbi Purim Panada 2015

Shabbat Parashat Ki Tissa

March 7, 2015 – 16 Adar 5775

Dear Friends,

Purim was very special at Rodef Sholom Temple this year!  Thanks to our volunteers and organizers for doing such a great job preparing us for this special time of the year!!!!   And, thanks to our members’ active participation, our evening Megillah reading was infused with a very special sense of communal spirit.  Many children participated, along with many parents and teachers.  Singles and empty nesters joined the fun to celebrate Purim and to raise up our communal spirit.  Yasher koach to all who prepared and participated!

After all is said and done, the “take aways” of Purim – the messages we hold dear as we transition from Purim and begin looking toward Passover – are embedded in the mitzvoth of Purim which we read about in the Megillah itself!  The mitzvoth of Purim are: read the Megillah [The Scroll of Esther] and remain connected to the Bible and aware of our belief that miracles do happen but that individuals can and do make a difference in this world; have a festive meal; take part in the mitzvah of mishloach manot [sharing food and drink with friends]; and give matanot la’evyonim [give gifts to the needy].

The message of Purim is one of celebration and of hope even as we acknowledge the dangers that, at times, surround us.  It is a message of sharing and of community.  It is a message of inclusivity and of responsibility to those among us who might be in need of our help!  And, it is a message that prepares us to move toward the celebration of Passover – the holiday in which we celebrate our exodus from slavery and our determination to become a people who increase the sense of blessing and of light in the world.

The story of the exodus reminds us that there is no easy way to move from slavery to the Promised Land.  Our weekly Torah portion describes some of the challenges, internal and external, that our people faced as they traveled through the desert toward the Promised Land.  Through it all we were guided by God, and taught to look to God’s teachings for inspiration and for hope.  We learn, in our Parsha [weekly Torah portion], that not only Moses was inspired by God.  We are told that Bezalel was endowed with the three qualities of “chochmah [wisdom], tevunah [understanding], and da’at [divine inspiration]”(Exodus 31:3).

These three qualities have the potential to help us move from a place of enslavement in our lives to a place of greater freedom of spirit.

Chochmah [wisdom] is what we get when we learn from others.  Tevunah [understanding] is what we are able to achieve when we make sense of what we have learned.  Da’at [Divine inspiration] is evident when we are able to take our wisdom and understanding and use them to create something new, something good, something filled with blessing in our world; when we discern something about God’s creative process and apply that to the world that surrounds us; when we allow the image of God that is within each of our souls to blossom and to project a unique ray of light in our world.

May the energy and communal spirit of Purim help us to transition toward a meaningful Passover.  May we read and enjoy the wisdom of our Torah, understand its message for us today.  May we move forward from strength to strength.  And, may we bring more light, more healing, more hope and more love into our world in the days ahead, as individuals and as a community.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror