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 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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Shabbat Parashat Shoftim - Gratitude and Love

2019-09-06 12:15:00 RST Web Admin

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

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Shabbat Parashat Balak - Visions of Victory

2019-07-19 16:35:14 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

This Shabbat is the 17th day of the Jewish month of Tammuz.  On this date, in 70 C.E., the Roman army breached the walls of Jerusalem.  Three weeks later, on the 9th of the Jewish month of Av, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple.

In our modern Jewish calendar, the 17th of Tammuz is a “minor” fast day.  This means that the fast (refraining from both eating and drinking) begins at dawn and ends 25 minutes after sunset.  However, when the 17th day of Tammuz falls on Shabbat, the fast is put off to the 18th day of Tammuz.

During this heat wave, it is important that we observe the fast only to a degree that does not in any way endanger our health.  Whether we fast or not, our calendar reminds us that we were not always victorious.  Our people suffered losses.  And we remember the pain of those losses even as we look forward to celebrating better days.

In our Torah portion, the foreign prophet Bilam blesses Israel that we will “rise up like a lioness” and be victorious.  This blessing is not to be dismissed.  We appreciate the blessings of all people.  However, Bilaam’s vision of victory was clearly a vision of military victory.  Our Jewish prophets envisioned that for our people, along with an even more far-reaching vision of victory – a victory with a spiritual message of redemption for the entire world.

May our calendar and our Torah strengthen our resolve to bring to fruition the fulfillment of the vision of victory of our prophets and the ultimate blessing of true and lasting peace to the world in which we live!

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