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Tidbits of Torah

Shabbat Parashat Pinchas

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh 

Profound and Perplexing Pieces in Siddur Lev Shalem      

July 7, 2018 – 24 Tammuz 5778 

Dear Friends,

 

Our recent heat wave and July 4th having come and gone are clear indications that summer is upon us!   I hope that you have had an opportunity to celebrate July 4th and that you have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the summer months!

Beginning this coming Monday, July 9th, Tidbits of Torah (and I) will be on vacation for  three weeks.  However, I take this opportunity to throw out the following two questions to you in the hopes that I will find your responses in my email inbox when I return from my vacation.

Here are the questions:

1. What is your favorite choice of a profound reading/prayer/commentary in Siddur Lev Shalem?  Please say a few words on why you chose that piece.

2.  What is your choice of a perplexing reading/prayer/commentary in Siddur Lev Shalem?  Say a few words on why you chose that piece.

In your response/s, please be sure to include the title and the Siddur Lev Shalem page number of your chosen piece/s!

Now that I got those questions out to you…I hope to see you at Friday night and Shabbat services this Shabbat!  On Saturday morning we will be blessing the new Jewish month of Av.  Rosh Chodesh Av will be on Thursday night and on Friday of next week.  May it be a month of blessing and of comfort to all.

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Tidbits of Torah

 

Shabbat Parashat Shemot Stand Up for What Is Right!

2020-01-17 18:41:30 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

It’s often hard to decide when to act and when to let something slide….  In our weekly Torah portion, Shemot, we read of Pharaoh’s decree to drown the newborn baby boys, born to the Israelite people in Egypt.  Joseph died and was forgotten.  The good that Joseph had done for Egypt was, seemingly, a thing of the past.  What remained was the fear that the Israelites would outnumber the Egyptians and overtake the Land of Egypt.  And the future was bleak, at least for the foreseeable future.

In the face of Pharaoh’s decree and the uncertainty of the times, the midwives stood up for what was right.  They disobeyed Pharaoh – refusing to drown the baby boys.   Instead, though their acts of “civil disobedience” placed them in mortal danger, they stood up for life and for justice.

This weekend we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The call to stand up for what is right is not a thing of the past.  We are yet faced with moments when we are called upon to decide whether we too will take the necessary steps to do the right thing or not.

May our Torah portion and our remembrance of the sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and of so many of his followers, remind us of the power of individuals to make a difference for the good.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Shabbat Parashat Vayechi What Are We Waiting For...

2020-01-10 17:08:09 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

What are we waiting for….When does the life we hope to live actually begin?

Traditionally, Jews are always aware of what is not yet completely perfect in ourselves and in the world around us.  Traditionally, Jews are waiting for the Messianic era and anticipating a time when a true, lasting and pervasive peace will envelop the world.

Nevertheless, Judaism teaches us to live our lives in the fullest way possible; to live in the present with an eye toward the future.

Our parsha begins with the Hebrew words: “Vayechi Yaacov...”  [Jacob lived…].  The continuation of our parasha is the narrative of Jacob’s life in Egypt.  It is the story of the last 17 years of Jacob’s long, action-packed, life.

Perhaps, the words “Vayechi Yaacov” point to Jacob’s own personal sense that when he was reunited with Joseph in Egypt, for the first time in his life, Jacob felt that he was “truly alive.”

Perhaps, not only for Jacob, but for us as well, it is so easy to live life waiting for something that we have not yet attained.  It is so easy to put off doing things because we are not yet where we want to be in life…But, in reality, our “true life” is happening all the time!

What are we waiting for…?  May our lives be filled with a sense of blessing for the present as well as hope and inspiration for the future!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Shabbat Parashat VaYigash Shepherds at Heart

2020-01-03 18:41:12 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered why our ancestors were shepherds?  Have you ever wondered why Moses was a shepherd?  Why Rachel was tending the flocks of her father when Jacob first saw her?  Why, in our weekly Torah portion, Joseph instructs his newly re-united family to present themselves to Pharaoh in Egypt, as shepherds?

Some thoughts on this question….Sheep are very vulnerable.  Shepherding requires awareness of the responsibilities for the life of the sheep!  Shepherding also allows us to appreciate nature.  Shepherding teaches us patience.  And…Shepherding affords us time to relax and to think!

As we learn to be responsible for lives of sheep, we also learn to take responsibility for the lives of vulnerable human beings.  We learn to enjoy the beauty of creation while also appreciating the potential threats that surround us and our sheep.  And…we learn that we need to take time for ourselves and allow our minds to wander.  We learn that we need to allow creativity to unfold from within our very souls.

I wonder….To what degree are we still shepherds, or at least shepherds at heart?

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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

2019-12-27 16:28:11 RST Web Admin
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

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Shabbat Parashat Vayeshev Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh Miracles and More Miracles

2019-12-20 18:30:32 RST Web Admin

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

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Men’s Club Kosher-for-Passover Wine Sale

The Men’s Club announces its annual Kosher-for-Passover wine sale!

There will be a wine tasting and ordering during the Purim “Shindig in Shushan” on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. The order deadline is March 1, 2013.

Checks should be made payable to the RST Men’s Club. The point of contact is Steve Meyerson at 874-8550 or steve.meyerson@cox.net