Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh
August 4, 2018 – 23 Av 5778
Thank you to all who responded to the Tidbits of Torah asking about the most profound and/or perplexing pieces in Siddur Lev Shalem! I appreciated your responses!
Thank you to all who filled in while I was on vacation! You are awesome!
I returned from my vacation or, more accurately, from my stay-cation, refreshed and happy to see Rodef Sholom Temple thriving, progressing and energized by the process of re-grouping in our new location! Yasher koach to all who have and are still contributing to this effort.
I hope you will join us for services this Friday night and Shabbat morning as we celebrate the bar mitzvah of David Dorfman. Mazal Tov to David and to his entire family!
This week’s parsha, Ekev, emphasizes the importance of remembering. The Torah exhorts us to remember that we, as a people, were immigrants. While Israel is not only the Promised Land, but also our spiritual homeland, we must remember that our forefathers and foremothers were immigrants.
The Torah tells us that we were not born, as a people, in the Promised Land. Abraham was not born in the Promised Land. At God’s insistence, Abraham and his family journeyed from Aram to the Promised Land. This means that our ancestors were, at first, strangers in the Promised Land. Later, Abraham and Sarah’s descendants were enslaved in Egypt for hundreds of years.
It was in Egypt, while we were in exile and enslaved, that we became “a people.” In the Book of Exodus, when we read about our enslavement in Egypt, the Bible refers to us, for the very first time, as an “Am” (a nation, or “a people”).
Now, in the Book of Deuteronomy, in Parashat Ekev, we are told to always remember that we were strangers in Egypt.
The Torah wants us to remember what it is like to be a stranger and an immigrant. This remembrance is essential for us especially when we are no longer strangers or immigrants.
It is precisely when we feel “at home” that we must remember how we felt when we were not feeling comfortable in our surroundings.
That is the message of Torah. Remember that we were strangers. Remember that we were immigrants. Treat strangers and immigrants with an extra measure of kindness for, if we study our Torah and our history, we will surely recall what it was like to be in their shoes!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
P.S. This Shabbat we will recite the prayer for the upcoming Jewish month of Elul. Rosh Chodesh Elul will be on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday of next week! May it be a month of joy and of blessing!
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