Tidbits of Torah

Shabbat Parashat Mikkets Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Tevet – Day 1 Chanukah – Day 6 Happy and Healthy 2020

Dear Friends,

This Shabbat we will have special treats at Rodef Sholom Temple.  Don’t miss the fun!

On Friday night, after our service, we will have a special Chanukah dinner, followed by Game Night!  I hope to see you there!

Then, tomorrow morning we will inaugurate our new three part Parsha and Archaeology series during our Shabbat morning service, right after Torah service, and in place of our usual Torah discussion!  Special thanks to Rabbi Dr. Richard Freund for volunteering to discuss the topic: “On Dreams and Magic and the Arrival of the Hebrews into Egypt from the Archaeological Report.”  This topic reflects the weekly Torah portion of Mikkets in which we see how Joseph became adept at interpreting the dreams of those around him…

In addition to being Shabbat Chanukah, this Shabbat is also Rosh Chodesh!  Rosh Chodesh affords us the on-going opportunity to explore new beginnings in our lives.

But, speaking of dreams and of new beginnings…This week, we will also be ushering in the new year 2020.  As we conclude a decade in our secular calendar and begin a new decade, We can hope and pray that our new beginnings and our dreams will lead us in fulfilling directions and that we will see a time of greater peace and understanding, speedily, and in our time.

I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a Shabbat Shalom, Chanukah Sameach [a Happy Chanukah] and a very happy and healthy 2020!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Shabbat Parashat Vayeshev Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh Miracles and More Miracles

Dear Friends,

This Shabbat we read the continuation of the Joseph story.  Joseph had so many close calls in life that we can truly speak of his “miraculous” life.  Not only did he survive, he also rose from the depths of prison in Egypt all the way to the top of the heights of Egyptian leadership.  But, were these miracles?

Think for a moment of Walt Whitman’s poem: “Miracles”.

I share with you below excerpts of Whitman’s poem:

“Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,…
Or talk by day with any one I love,…
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,…

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle…
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim- the rocks – the motion of the waves – the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?”

While our Torah portion of Vayeshev and the Joseph story within it may raise questions in our minds about the nature of miracles, let us remember that we are about to celebrate Chanukah – The Festival of Lights – which celebrates at least two separate miracles.  On Chanukah, we celebrate the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights and we celebrate the victory of the few over the many!  So many miracles to contemplate!

This Shabbat we also recite the blessing for the new upcoming Jewish month of Tevet.  Rosh Chodesh Tevet will be a week from this Friday night, a week from this Shabbat, and then also on the Sunday that follows.  May it be a month of joy, of miracles, of light and of spiritual fulfillment!

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach [a Happy Chanukah]!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Shabbat Parashat Vayishlach We May Limp…but We are Still Moving Forward!

Dear Friends,

Jacob wrestled with life in more ways than one.  He struggled with his conscience.  He struggled with Laban.  He struggled with an unknown man/angel on the way back to his native homeland.  And, he came out of the struggles with a limp.

Many of us can connect with Jacob’s story because we too have wrestled with life in more ways than one.  We too have come out of various struggles with a limp.

One of the most amazing parts of the Jacob story is that his limp does not keep him from moving forward.  It does not keep him from developing into Yisrael/Israel.  In fact, Jacob’s spirit and fortitude have inspired generations of Jews to find ways to overcome struggles and to persist in finding and in enhancing the blessings in life.

May we continue to be blessed with the strength and fortitude that enables us to overcome struggles and to enjoy the full blessings of life.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror