Tidbits of Torah

Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim Shana Tova!

Dear Friends,

I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a Shana Tova u’Metuka [a good year and a sweet year]!  May we enjoy many blessings and simchas [joyous celebrations] together.

A short and sweet message for this Shabbat and for the coming High Holy Days:

I love this week’s Torah portion especially since it always is read right before Rosh HaShana.  Our Torah portion of Nitzavim reiterates a central theme in our Jewish narrative.  Nitzavim reminds us that God entered into a Covenant with the people Israel and that the Covenant included all those who were present at that time, and all those who were not present

How can a Covenant include those who were not present at the time of its creation?

Some say, this phrase in the Torah is meant to include future generations in the Covenant.

But, some say: this is to include those whose minds were focused on the momentous moment of the creation of the Covenant, and those whose mind was wandering while the sacred Covenant was being established!

What a wonderful teaching!  We are all included.  We are all important.  Whether we focus on every moment of the prayers during the High Holy Days or whether our minds wander, we are all part of the experience of being present in a holy space, at a holy moment in time.

Looking forward to seeing you soon and to sharing the blessings, the joys, and the experiences of holiness as we greet the new Jewish year, 5780, together!

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Shabbat Parashat Ki Tetse – To Ignore Or Not To Ignore…

Dear Friends,

To ignore…or not to ignore.  That is the question!

As the month of Elul progresses, and in preparation for the High Holy Days, we are called upon to reflect on our lives.

One of the dilemmas of life these days is how to sift through all the information we receive throughout the day.  We are literally inundated with information, with news, with advertisements, with advice, with warnings, with emails, and with entertainment from morning to night.  As a result, we have very little time or patience for introspection.  Indeed, we have very little “space” for reflection.

We either make choices or we are buffeted around by whatever is thrown our way.

Our choice is: To ignore…or not to ignore.

The Torah tells us, in our weekly Torah portion:  “If you see your fellow’s ox or sheep gone astray, do not ignore it; you must take it back to your fellow. (Deuteronomy 22:1).  But, interestingly, just two verses later (in verse 3), the Torah tells us: …you will not be able to ignore it!

There’s a difference between the Torah telling us that we must not ignore something and the Torah telling us that we will not be able to ignore it!  So, why does the Torah use these two distinctly different phrases?  What’s the message?

By using the two distinctly different phrases, the Torah highlights for us that fact that if we try to ignore something that is of huge moral concern to us, in the long run, we will not be able to be at peace with ourselves.  In the long run, we will not be able to successfully ignore the things that are truly reflect our highest values.

Especially in our lives today, when we are so inundated with information, it is important for us to consciously decide what is important to us and what is not.  We need to be deliberately mindful in choosing the things that will capture and retain our attention.  We need to decide what to ignore and what not to ignore.  This is true spiritual work.

May the month of Elul, and our spiritual work, lead us to a sense of “space” and “inner peace” as we navigate our paths within the turbulence and noise of the world around us.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Shabbat Parashat Shoftim – Gratitude and Love

Dear Friends,

It is with a sense of tremendous gratitude to all the volunteers who kept our services running throughout my vacation, that I return to Rodef Sholom Temple.  Thanks to all those who led services, to those who delivered divrei Torah, and to those who kept our congregation going over the summer.

I thoroughly enjoyed participating in Rodef Sholom Temple services a couple of times during my vacation and having the opportunity to sit in the back with my family.  I really love our congregation!

I also take this opportunity to thank all who came to celebrate my granddaughter Eden’s bat mitzvah during August.  Your presence made the moment extra special for Eden and for our whole family!

We are now in the month of Elul.  This month gives us the opportunity to prepare ourselves spiritually for the upcoming High Holy Days.  We are sounding the shofar at weekday morning minyan services.  Please join us, if you are able to, on Monday and Thursday mornings at 7:45 a.m.  The shofar that is sounded toward the end of the morning minyan service reminds us that time is precious.  Let us make the most of the time each of us has been given.

This Friday evening we will not hold our usual services due to the inclement weather.

But, we will hold services on Shabbat morning!  As part of the service on Shabbat morning, we will have the opportunity to gather together, to enjoy our community and to celebrate the aufruf of Natan Diskin and Elena Mircoff.  What is an aufruf?  It is a traditional blessing of bride and groom.  And, this Shabbat morning we will have the chance to bless Natan and Elena in honor of their upcoming marriage.

May the joy of the aufruf and the blessings of community, of gratitude and of love give us strength and inspiration.

As Hurricane Dorian progresses through our area, please be cautious.  Stay dry.  Stay safe. Be well.  And I look forward to seeing you soon!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror