Shabbat Parashat Re’eh Shabbat Machar Chodesh Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh Looking Ahead

Dear Friends,
Thank you to all the volunteers who kept our services running so smoothly during my vacation! You are the best! I truly enjoyed just coming in and sitting in the back of the Sanctuary, and allowing the sounds of the service to surround me spiritually. Thank you! I really appreciated having some time off and I am really glad to be back!
This week, the Olympics are on my mind….As we watch the games unfold, we realize the amount of work that the athletes put in before the games just so that they can be “at the top of their game” when their “moment” arrives. Imagine what the Olympic games would be like if the athletes showed up without any preparation….The secret to athletic success is to live in the “now” and, at the same time, to look ahead toward the future. And, in fact, this is the message of the upcoming new Jewish month of Elul – the month of spiritual preparation for the High Holy Days!
This Shabbat is the Shabbat immediately preceding Rosh Chodesh Elul! We will be reciting the prayer for the upcoming new Jewish month of Elul during our Shabbat morning services, as we pray for a month of successful preparation for the upcoming High Holy Days.
Rosh Chodesh Elul will be on Saturday night, Sunday and Monday of this coming week. It is a two day Rosh Chodesh which begins on the final day of the Jewish month of Av (Sunday) and continues on the first day of the Jewish month of Elul (Monday).
Each morning beginning on the first day of Elul, except for Shabbat, you will receive a brief special “Elul Meditation” moment from RST. Please read it, enjoy it, contemplate its message, and use it as a warm up for the High Holy Days. As we go through the month of Elul, please feel free to share with me (and with one another) your thoughts on which one/s of the Elul Meditations is most meaningful to you…and why?
We will also be sounding the Shofar during our Monday and Thursday morning minyanim, during the month of Elul.
And, each Monday afternoon during the month of Elul, we will gather at RST for a brief Shofar sounding. I hope you will join us for some or all of these Shofar moments.
Let yourself hear the sound of the Shofar, and allow yourself to be moved by its ancient call. Remember that, in Biblical times, the children of Israel were moved as they heard the sound of the Shofar at Mount Sinai.
There is something very special about the sound of the Shofar. We hear it in the “now”, but it connects us to our past, even as it heralds the redemption and the blessings that are yet to come.
In parallel to the Olympic preparations, Elul is our spiritual warm up for the High Holy Days. Let’s take advantage of this special month of preparation, so that our High Holy Days’ rituals and prayers will be as powerful and as sustaining as possible. Let’s do all that we can do, to be “at the top of our game” as we usher in the new Jewish year of 5782.
Our weekly Torah portion of Re’eh begins with the notion that we have free will. We can make choices that affect our lives and the lives of those around us. The Parsha tells us that God sets before us, today, and every day, in the “now”, choices. It is up to us to choose the path of blessing, each and every day, as best as we can – for the sake of our “now”, as well as for the sake of our future!
RST is setting before us choices on how to prepare for the High Holy Days. Readings, Shofar soundings, mornings, afternoons….I hope you will enjoy the options and take advantage of them, and that, together, we will make these High Holy Days the best ever!
Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Gilah Dror