Torah Tidbits

A Happy 68th!      

Shabbat Parashat Kedoshim

May 14, 2016 – 6 Iyyar 5776   

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Israel is celebrating its 68th birthday and we are blessed to be able to celebrate with her!!!  It’s fireworks time!  It’s songfest time!  It’s family time!  It’s “get out into nature” time.  It’s barbecue and picnic time!  It’s the International Bible Contest time!  These are the scenes in Israel as Israel’s Independence Day celebration moves seamlessly from individual hearts to public spaces and back again!   Time to celebrate.  And, we are privileged to celebrate too, as individuals and as a community!

This week’s Torah portion elaborates on the theme of holiness, connecting the individual and the community in a very powerful and very real way.

We read at the opening of our Torah portion the exhortation:  Kedoshim t’hyu [You (plural) shall be holy].  Our Sages noted that, although at times, our Torah speaks to each of us as individuals, the ideal of Kedoshim t’hyu is presented to us in the plural, as a community.

Each one of us is challenged to keep our eyes focused on the ideal of living a life imbued with holiness.  Each one of us is encouraged to measure our steps in order to live a life of meaning and of purpose.  Yet, we know that we ourselves, and others around us, often fall short of the ideal.

In speaking of the ideal of “striving for holiness” in the plural, Torah reminds us that, despite our individual shortcomings and despite the individual and communal shortcomings of those around us, there is holiness in remaining connected with our people as a whole.  There is holiness in celebrating with our congregation.  There is holiness in celebrating with our community.  And there is holiness in celebrating with Israel!

So, let’s come together as often as we are able, physically or virtually, during the week each week, on Friday nights, on Shabbat, on holidays, at programs, at educational opportunities and at events, and let’s celebrate the on-going miracles of creation, the joy of connection despite our shortcomings, and the very real and inspiring wisdom of our Torah.

A Happy 68th to Israel, and many, many more…!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror