Tidbits of Torah

   Spiritual and Physical Groundbreakings                       

Shabbat Parashat Va’era

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh 

January 28, 2017 – 1 Shevat 5777
Dear Friends,headshot white 2015croppedHow awesome is it that we have arrived at this juncture in our congregational and communal life!  This Sunday, we will gather together for the groundbreaking ceremony for our new Temple, on the UJC Campus!  Thanks and yasher koach to all who have labored long and hard to help us reach this day!

Our groundbreaking ceremony represents more than the start of the next stage of our plans for erecting a new building on a new site.  It represents the deepening of connections that run through the generations, past, present, and future, as we relate to our tradition, to our faith, and to our Jewish understanding of the world in which we live.

And, our weekly Torah portion of Va’era alludes to a spiritual groundbreaking moment – a moment of new, and spiritual insight.   In our Parsha, it is Moses who had such a moment…. God says to Moses that our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, knew God only as: “El Shaddai.” Some sages understand “El Shaddai” as evoking a sense of God as  “powerful.” Others understand “El Shaddai” as “nurturing.”  Either way, the name “El Shaddai” was known well before Moses’ time.  But now, in our Parsha, for the first time, God shares with Moses an entirely different name: “Adonai.”   This new name, Adonai, denotes God as “merciful”.

In sharing this story with us, the Torah reminds us that our ancestors sensed God in different ways.  And, that there were spiritual groundbreaking moments of new insight in our history that have enriched us for generations to come.

I look forward to seeing you this Friday night as we celebrate Sisterhood Shabbat, and on Sunday as we celebrate our Temple’s physical groundbreaking!

May we be blessed to share many more simchas, and may our connection to Jewish life, to congregational and to communal life, deepen with each new groundbreaking moment of our lives.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!

Rabbi Gilah Dror