Shabbat Parashat VaYelech Shabbat Shuvah Transitions

Dear Friends,

This first Shabbat of the Jewish New Year, 5780, is a very special Shabbat – Shabbat Shuvah.  There are so many levels of meaning embedded in the words: “Shabbat Shuvah.”   We might say that this is the “Shabbat of Return.”   Or, perhaps we might call this Shabbat, the “Shabbat of Repentance.”  This Shabbat we are in a time of transition.  We have just moved from one Jewish year to another.  We are now moving from Rosh HaShana to Yom Kippur.  And, naturally, we are aware, more than ever, that we are moving from one chapter of our lives to the next chapter.

This is our time to reflect on our choices and on the direction we would like our lives to take in the coming year.

In our weekly Torah portion, VaYelech, we glean some insights into Moses’ awareness of his own personal transition.  Moses informs the people whom he has led for the past 40 years that Joshua is soon to take up the reins of leadership of the Israelite people.   He informs them that he himself will not cross over into the Promised Land.  Sad or disappointed as Moses may have been when he first learned that he would not accompany his people into the Promised Land, Moses now looks to the future with the assurance that his life’s work will be continued by others.  He looks to the future with the understanding that God will remain connected with our people throughout the generations.

As we celebrate Shabbat Shuvah, may our reflections be grounded in the same sense of assurance and understanding.  May our repentance be heartfelt and our return to core values uplifting.   May all of our prayers be answered for the good.  And, may we all be blessed as we continue our transition, taking our first steps into the new Jewish year of 5780.

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!
Rabbi Gilah Dror