Shabbat Parashat Acharei-Mot Kedoshim Love. Love. Love.

Dear Friends,

This Friday night at our abbreviated Kabbalat Shabbat service, we will celebrate Shabbat and the Confirmation of Zoe Epstein and of Pearl Kluger.  I hope you will join us for our special “Zoom Confirmation” Service.  Mazal Tov to Zoe and to Pearl and to their families. We rejoice with the families as we celebrate our Confirmands!

A word of Torah for this week….What is at the center of our Torah?  The Book of Leviticus is the center. It is the third book of the five Books of Moses.  Two books precede it.  Two books follow it.  So, the Book of Leviticus is the center of the Torah.  And what is the heart of Leviticus?  The Holiness Code, in Chapter 19, is arguably the heart of the Book of Leviticus.

It contains, two commandments that have to do with heart, with love.  Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself (Leviticus 19:18).  Love the Stranger as Thyself (Leviticus 19:34).  Each of these two commandments to love others is founded on the principle that each one of us is worthy of love.  If we are to love others “as ourselves”, then it follows that we are to love ourselves.  We are to realize that our lives are a sacred gift from God.  Even when we feel inadequate, even when we falter, even when we slip up…., the Torah reminds us our life is precious.  And, even when our neighbor, or a stranger in our midst, does not live up to our expectations, the Torah reminds us that their lives are also precious.  Love. Love. Love. That is the heart of Torah.

May this Shabbat fill our lives with a sense of our own worth and with a sense of the worth of the lives of those around us.   Even with all of our imperfections, may we be blessed to see the worth of life and the image of God in ourselves as well as in others.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror