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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 Lekh L'kha Gratitude and Blessings!

2019-11-08 16:01:30 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us this Shabbat as we celebrate the bar mitzvah of Reece David.  Mazal Tov to Reece and to his entire family!  Gratitude and blessings are definitely in the air…

We also mark Veterans Day this weekend and express our gratitude for the many blessings we have been afforded thanks to the service of our veterans.

This week’s Torah portion, Lekh L’kha (Go forth), reminds us of the various journeys we undertake in life.  Most importantly, our Torah portion reminds us that our goal as Jewish people and as spiritual descendants of Abraham and of Sarah, is to be as much of a blessing as possible to those around us even as we travel the various paths of life.

Today, I share with you the following Veterans Day Prayer, written by Alden  Solovy.

Veterans Day Prayer

 G-d of compassion,
G-d of dignity and strength,
Watch over the veterans of the United States
In recognition of their loyal service to our nation.
Bless them with wholeness and love.
Shelter them.
Heal their wounds,
Comfort their hearts.
Grant them peace.

G-d of justice and truth,
Rock of our lives,
Bless our veterans,
These men and women of courage and valor,
With a deep and abiding understanding
Of our profound gratitude.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want.
Grant them lives of joy and bounty.
May their dedication and honor
Be remembered as a blessing
From generation to generation.

Blessed are You,
Protector and Redeemer,
Our Shield and our Stronghold.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

As we celebrate this Shabbat and Reece’s bar mitzvah, and mark Veterans Day, let us  remember to be grateful for the blessings we receive and cognizant of the many blessings we may be privileged to share with others along the journey of life.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Shabbat Parashat Noach Family and Future!

2019-11-01 16:56:34 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us this Shabbat as we celebrate the bat mitzvah of Yona Hyman.  Mazal Tov to Yona and to her entire family!

In this week’s Torah portion, Noach, we are introduced, for the first time in the Biblical narrative, to the Hebrew word for “family” (mishpachah).  And so, it is only fitting that we should celebrate a family simcha (joyous occasion) when we read this Torah portion.

It is very interesting to me that we first encounter the word mishpachah in the Bible when we read the story of Noach and the flood.

Why do you think that the Torah uses the word mishpachah for the very first time in the context of the story of the flood?  I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this question…

For me, the fact that the epic storm story is conveyed along with the first explicit mention of mishpachah, of family, in the Bible is indicative that family can be a great source of comfort during stormy times.  It might be close family.  It might be extended family.   It might be our neighbors and our friends and it might be our people as a whole.  However we may choose to think of the concept of  mishpachah, of family, there is no doubt that feeling related to others and that being in connection with others is a powerful way to address the stresses, the storms, and the challenges of life.

It is also a very meaningful and powerful way of celebrating our most special and joyous moments!

As we celebrate this Shabbat and Yona’s bat mitzvah, let us enjoy our connections with one another and look forward to sharing this and many more family simchas and joyous events in the coming year!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Shabbat Parashat VaYelech Shabbat Shuvah Transitions

2019-10-04 18:07:25 RST Web Admin
Dear Friends,

This first Shabbat of the Jewish New Year, 5780, is a very special Shabbat – Shabbat Shuvah.  There are so many levels of meaning embedded in the words: “Shabbat Shuvah.”   We might say that this is the “Shabbat of Return.”   Or, perhaps we might call this Shabbat, the “Shabbat of Repentance.”  This Shabbat we are in a time of transition.  We have just moved from one Jewish year to another.  We are now moving from Rosh HaShana to Yom Kippur.  And, naturally, we are aware, more than ever, that we are moving from one chapter of our lives to the next chapter.

This is our time to reflect on our choices and on the direction we would like our lives to take in the coming year.

In our weekly Torah portion, VaYelech, we glean some insights into Moses’ awareness of his own personal transition.  Moses informs the people whom he has led for the past 40 years that Joshua is soon to take up the reins of leadership of the Israelite people.   He informs them that he himself will not cross over into the Promised Land.  Sad or disappointed as Moses may have been when he first learned that he would not accompany his people into the Promised Land, Moses now looks to the future with the assurance that his life’s work will be continued by others.  He looks to the future with the understanding that God will remain connected with our people throughout the generations.

As we celebrate Shabbat Shuvah, may our reflections be grounded in the same sense of assurance and understanding.  May our repentance be heartfelt and our return to core values uplifting.   May all of our prayers be answered for the good.  And, may we all be blessed as we continue our transition, taking our first steps into the new Jewish year of 5780.

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim Shana Tova!

2019-09-27 12:21:52 RST Web Admin

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

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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tetse - To Ignore Or Not To Ignore...

2019-09-13 16:25:39 RST Web Admin

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

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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