From the Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat July 30, 2021/21 Av 5781
Torah: Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3)
Firstly, I will start with the Haftarah, which is the second of the Haftarot of Consolation, recited after the commemoration of the Ninth of Av. Jewish people have to remember that the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple in Jerusalem) was destroyed by people and nations in 586 B.C.E. and again in 70 C.E.. These were horrific times for the Jewish people and we endeavoured throughout the centuries by staying strong together.
This year we will have the Yamim Noraim (High Holidays) in person and virtually on Zoom. Each week the guidance from the Government officials, and the CDC keeps changing on whether to wear a mask or not. Please keep following the information from the Beit Chaverim website as Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur get closer. This is called a liminal moment, when the course is continually changing as one lives through the changes. Together we will get through this Covid virus and its variants. Think positively.
The Torah’s second discourse of Moses continued:
The rewards of obedience, the lessons of past history, and the warning of arrogance.
Reverence and awe for G-d…The Torah states that “you shall fear the Lord your G-d” (Deuteronomy 10:20). In Proverbs 1:7 we are told that “fear of G-d is the beginning of wisdom.” Reverence for G-d, an acknowledgement of G-d’s infinite power and righteousness, is one of the keys to human wisdom.
Another concept and value is to serve God. From the earliest period of history, Jews have endeavored to serve G-d through prayer. The ancient rabbis understood Deuteronomy 10:20, “You shall fear the Lord your G-d, serve Him, and cleave to Him,” as referring to prayer, since a praying Jew serves G-d with his heart. The Torah does not specify that prayers must be recited at a certain time or with a certain text. It was only later, by rabbinic decree, that the texts and frequency of prayer were decided.
Today, we pray three times a day, and the Torah is read three times a week Shabbat, Monday and Thursday. The rabbis knew that the farmers and vendors brought their goods to market two times a week, and they observed the Sabbath. One rabbinic scholar believed that no one should go more than two days without hearing the Torah read.
Since the Jewish people have a lunar calendar, the day begins in the evening. G-d created LIGHT therefore it was Dark. Our first day was coming out from the darkness. All Sabbaths, High Holidays and minor holidays start as Erev (in the evening). We also find that through praying either alone or with a congregation it brings a calm to the human soul. Less stress because we focus on the prayer’s words and meaning. This is called Kavanah, which brings us closer to G-d.
May we pray this Sabbath to have a quiet, safe, healthy and peaceful one.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder