January 21,2022/20 Shevat 5782Torah Portion:Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) Haftarah:(Isaiah 6:1-7:6 and 9:5-6)
Firstly, while I was away the horrific Antisemitic attack on the synagogue in Texas occurred, and I want everyone to comprehend that most rabbis receives updates from the FBI to be aware of a rise in Antisemitic attacks. Most rabbis and their congregation receive training with the police, if they want. Our congregation and the church where we hold our services have met with the police on this serious issue and to keep all of us safe. Each of us have to live our lives and NOT live in fear. Take safety precautions and be prepared. Our prayers were heard and all Jewish people in the synagogue in Texas were saved.
Jewish people have been and still have threats by evil individuals, groups and countries. However, Jewish people continue to participate and dwell over the world. We cherish each day, each special moment and beauty in this world. One of our prayers, “Adon Olam” we recite, “Into His hands I entrust my spirit, when I sleep and when I wake; and with my spirit, my body also: the Lord is with me, I will not fear.
I pray each day, more when traveling, and more when evil antisemitic tragic events occur. I contact our government leaders and Interfaith Council members and all try to continue to spread acceptance, love and peace.
May we pray that one day people will learn that diversity is a good thing, to continue to strive to do good actions to enhance their communities, countries and the world and NOT to change it by violence or destruction of any kind.
May we continue to BE the Chosen people and bring Light into the Darkness, Always.
A brief summary of this week’s Torah parsha(portion)…
Jethro(Yitro is Moses’ father-in-law and a Medinite) brings Zipporah (Yitro’s daughter), the wife of Moses, and their children to the Israelite camp. *Zipporah became part of the Jewish people and she even circumcised both of their sons because Moses was speaking to G-d. Talk about the first woman moyhel!
Jethro suggests to Moses that the burden of leadership is too much for one man to bear. He advises Moses to choose people with whom to share the leadership. Moses heeds his advice.
Moses and the Israelites camp at Mt. Sinai.
Moses ascends the mountain and G-d speaks to him, giving him the Ten Commandments.
The Torah portion contains the concepts and values:
The Chosen people come from Exodus 19:5 that the children of Israel will be a treasured people. This promise of special election or chosenness has been a core factor of Jewish life for thousands of years. G-d chose the Jewish people and made special demands upon them. They will conform to a standard set for no other people. Israel of course, entered this covenant with G-d of their own free will by saying,”All that G-d has spoken, we will do.”
This Shabbat the Torah contains “ A kingdom of Priests.” G-d tells the Israelites that He wants them to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6). This means that just as it is the duty of every priest (kohen) to bring other Jews closer to G-d and Torah, so the Israelites have been called to play the part of a priest to other nations, bringing them closer to G-d and righteousness. Israel was also told by G-d to be a holy nation. Holy here means separate from false beliefs and idolatry of other nations. Israel becomes holy by cleaving to G-d and obeying G-d’s commandments.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder