Tidbits of Torah


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

2023-06-23 12:16:08 RST Web Admin

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

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

2023-06-19 15:06:58 RST Web Admin

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

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

2023-06-02 12:36:31 RST Web Admin

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

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Shabbat Parashat B'Midbar Shabbat Machar Chodesh Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh Preparing for Shavuot and for Confirmation! May 19, 2023 - 29 Iyyar 5783

2023-05-19 18:24:25 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us for services this Friday night to celebrate our New Members and our Religious School Teachers and Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutors!  Our Religious School Teachers and our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutors do such outstanding work with our youth!  Yasher koach to all of them!

This Shabbat morning we will be reciting the special prayer for the upcoming new Jewish month of Sivan.  Rosh Chodesh Sivan will be on Saturday night and Sunday.  May it be a month of joy and of blessing.

We will be preparing for Shavuot which will begin on Thursday night on this coming week.  The traditional preparations for Shavuot begin with Eruv Tavshilin.  When the holiday begins on Thursday night, we are permitted to cook on the holiday for that day, but not for Shabbat.  To prepare cooked food on Thursday night or Friday for Shabbat we begin the process on Thursday afternoon.  Before candle lighting on Thursday, we take two prepared foods, such as a hard boiled egg and a slice of challah, and recite the blessing:

Barukh attah Adonai, eloheynu melekh ha-olam, asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al mitzvat eruv. 

Then, we add: “By means of this combining (eruv), we are permitted to bake, cook, warm, dindle lights, and make all the necessary preparations for Shabbat during the festival (yom tov), we and all who live in this city/locale.”

We set aside the two prepared foods for eating on Shabbat during the day.  Having done this, we may complete the cooking for Shabbat on the festival day.

We also need to prepare a flame in advance of the festival so that we use an existing fire for cooking or other purposes (such as candle lighting on Friday night) on the festival day.  To this end, we prepare a flame (candle or pilot light) that will be lit before candle lighting on Thursday night that will continue to burn until it is time to light candles on Friday night.

On Thursday and on Friday nights, two blessings are recited at candle lighting:

Barukh attah Adonai, eloheynu melekh ha-olam, asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlike ner shel yom tov.

Barukh attah Adonai, eloheynu melekh ha-olam, shehecheyanu v’kiyemanu v’higianu lazeman ha-zeh.

Looking ahead, a week from now on Friday night, the second night of Shavuot, we will be celebrating not only Shabbat and Shavuot, but also Confirmation!  I hope you will all join us for that Friday night service as we celebrate with our two Confirmands, Brad Rubenstein and Reece David, and their families.  Mazal Tov to Brad and to Reece and to their families!

Moving toward Shavuot, we continue counting the Omer, and tonight we will count the beginning of the day which comes after day 43, in the Omer count.
Appreciating each day, and anticipating good days ahead – the counting of the Omer adds a wonderful dimension to our spiritual lives.  I look forward to counting together with you tonight.

May we enjoy our days and anticipate the satisfaction of lives well lived, as we move into the final week of the counting of the Omer!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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Shabbat Parashat Tazria and Metsora Rosh Chodesh Iyyar Day 2 Israel and Community April 21, 2023 - 1 Iyyar 5783

2023-05-01 17:09:02 RST Web Admin

Dear Friends,

Believe it or not….This coming week, Israel is celebrating her 75th birthday!  Mazal Tov to us all!

We will be having a special Israeli foods dinner tonight after Kabbalat Shabbat services with an Israel trivia game included as part of the evening’s celebration.  Join us!

On Sunday the UJCVP will be holding an Israel 75th celebration from noon to 3 pm.  I hope to see you there as well.

And, this Shabbat is not only Shabbat School, but also Rosh Chodesh Iyyar!  So many reasons to be at services on Shabbat morning.

Our double Torah portion of Tazria and Metsora revolve around the moments in which we feel more, or less, connected with the a sense of holiness.  Throughout the double Torah reading we learn of times when we are personally “in touch” with all that we hold dear – moments of fulfillment and of gratitude when we feel more in tune with the Temple, with the people, and with our ultimate goal of maintaining a spiritual community, appreciative of our sacred values and headed toward the Promised Land and a more fully redeemed world.

But, sometimes, the Torah reminds us, we may feel farther away from our roots.  That is precisely when we need others to prompt us to turn our attention back to community, to Torah, to the values and to the journey we share.   These too, are moments of holiness, when we remember that we are here to support one another throughout all the ups and downs of life.

I hope to see you this Friday night, this Shabbat morning, and on Sunday, as we show our connection to one another, to our history, to our youth, to our congregation, to our community, and to Israel!  Let’s celebrate with full hearts and let’s remind our friends that they too can enhance the moment and the celebration by virtue of their presence in our midst.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov and Chag Atzmaut Sameach [Happy Israel Independence Day]!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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