Tidbits of Torah

Shabbat Parashat Korach Final Tidbits of Torah June 24, 2023 – 5 Tammuz 5783

Dear Friends,

With gratitude and joy in my heart for having been privileged to serve as your pulpit Rabbi for the past 22 years, I write this final Tidbits of Torah, as a blessing and thanks to Rodef Sholom Temple.

RST is a wonderful, vibrant congregation.  Thanks to the leadership, membership, staff and volunteers of RST, in this time of congregational and rabbinic transiton, the retirement weekend celebration was a true testament to the vitality and resilience of RST.

In this week’s Torah portion, Korach, we read a cautionary tale of what might happen in moments of transition and uncertainty.  Right after the divine decree that our people would continue to wander in the desert for 40 years, rather than directly entering into the Promised Land, our people were dismayed, confused, and rebellious.  Egged on by Korach, and under the guise of seeking to “elevate” all the people, discontented groups united to undermine the leadership, the vision and the mission of our people.  Korach decided that the moment was ripe for a “power grab”.  And…the results were disastrous for our people.  Only Moses’ and Aaron’s intervention on behalf of our people, saved us all and allowed us to continue on as Covenental partners with God.

RST is in transition.  Yet, rather than dissing one another and undermining RST and/or its leaders – as Korach and his cohorts did to Moses and Aaron and even to
God in ancient times – our congregation pulled together.  Rather than blaming the leadership, RST members came together to express appreciation and thanks for  22 good years.

And the result?

Even as RST is in transition and our journey is not over, there is a palpable sense of purpose and of joy within RST as the congregation looks forward to the future.

This is surely a sign that we have learned the lesson of Korach.

Rather than blame one another, fight one another, and generate discord, we have found ways to support one another, to bless one another, and to inspire one another, as we move into the next phase of RST history.

Again, my thanks to the leadership, to the staff, and to the members of RST for 22 wonderful years and for a fabulous retirement weekend celebration!

May we see many blessings and many simchas as we continue to strive to enhance the joys of Jewish life and of Jewish living on the Peninsula in the days, weeks, months and years to come!  Yasher koach!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Shabbat Parashat Shelach Lekha Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh Courage and Faith June 16, 2023 – 28 Sivan 5783

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us for services this Shabbat as we celebrate the aufruf preceding the upcoming marriage of Marissa Arager and Jacob Perdue.  Mazal Tov to Marissa and to Jacob and to their families!  Their simcha is our simcha!

This Shabbat morning we will also be reciting the blessing of the new Jewish month of Tammuz.  Rosh Chodesh Tammuz will be on Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday of this coming week.  May it be a month of joy and of blessing.

All of this is taking place as we prepare to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18th.  Happy Father’s Day to all who celebrate!

Our weekly Torah portion of Shelach Lekha touches on issues of courage and faith.  Our ancestors moved forward following God’s instructions.  That took both courage and faith.  Yet, at times, they rebelled.  At times, they hesitated.  At times, they held back.  Such is the story of our ancestors.

As the Torah describes our ancestors’ actions and omissions, we realize how very human and, at times, flawed they were.  Nevertheless, it was through the legacy of their imperfect lives that we have been granted the precious legacy of our sacred tradition and the gift, the wisdom, and the guidance of our holy Torah.

With appreciation for those who have come before us, in ancient times and in more recent times, and the contribution they have all made to our lives, we look forward to many more meaningful days, weeks, months and years ahead.  And, we look forward to leaving a meaningful legacy of courage and of faith to those that will come after us.

May this Shabbat be a sign of blessing to us at Rodef Sholom Temple and to all of our people everywhere.

Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Father’s Day!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Shabbat Parashat Naso Count Me In! June 2, 2023 – 14 Sivan 5783

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us for services this Friday night and Shabbat as we celebrate the bat mitzvah of Netta Marziano.  Mazal Tov to Netta and to her whole family!

We have recently concluded the counting of the Omer and celebrated that culmination with the holiday of Shavuot.  Going forward, we rely on the spiritual strength of having counted each day for 50 days, numbering them one by one, as we continue with our lives until next year….And yet, we retain the awareness of counting through the weekly Torah portion of Naso which begins with the census of the Levites.  This week our Torah reading focuses our attention on the counting of people rather than on the counting of days!

Our Torah portion outlines the variety of ways in which our ancestors served as participants in the quest for holiness in Jewish life and in Jewish community.  Centered around the Sanctuary, each tribe had a part to play.  Each family within each tribe had a role.  Each person contributed to the overall project of sustaining our covenant with God and making it a living blueprint for continued connection, dedication and joy in Jewish living and in Jewish community.

This Shabbat, Netta joins the adult members of our community, leading services, reading Torah and chanting Haftarah, and speaking words of Torah, affirming her place among us in the Rodef Sholom Temple community and in the Jewish community around the world.

May this Shabbat be a sign of blessing to us at Rodef Sholom Temple and to all of our people everywhere as each one of us says with full heart: “Count Me In!”

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror