I hope you will join us this Friday evening and on Shabbat morning as we celebrate the bat mitzvah of Lainey Epstein. Mazal Tov to Lainey and to her entire family!
This Shabbat we read the regular Torah portion of Tetsaveh which concentrates on describing the vestments of the priests of ancient times. Our Sages understood that the various priestly garments represented values that the Torah wanted us to cultivate in our personal and communal lives.
For example, the headdress was to remind us of the pitfalls of arrogance. Seeing the headdress, or reading about it in the Torah, was to remind us of the benefits of humility. Similarly, the me’il, jacket, was to remind us of the dangers of gossip. Seeing it, or reading about it in Torah, was to remind us of the benefits of thoughtful speech.
Coupled with our regular Torah reading, this Shabbat we read a special maftir portion (Deuteronomy 25:17-19) for Shabbat Zachor. The Amalekites mentioned in this maftir reading attacked the stragglers of the Israelite camp in the desert. On the Shabbat before Purim, we are commanded to remember the Biblical story of Amalek.
Then, on Wednesday night (and again on Thursday morning), we will celebrate Purim with the reading of the Megillah – the Scroll of Esther. As we read the Megillah, we will “blot out” the name of Haman (who was said to have been a direct descendant of the Amalekites). But, we will also remember the human beings (Mordecai, Esther and their cohorts) who rose to the occasion and who helped our people avoid potential disaster.
As we celebrate Shabbat and Purim, may we remember our ability, as individuals and as a society, to strive to better ourselves and to work together to better the world around us.
Remember….Purim is just around the corner!!!
Shabbat Shalom and a very happy Purim!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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