Torah Tidbits

Gratitude and Thanksgiving    

Shabbat Parashat VaYetse

November 21, 2015 – 9 Kislev 5776   

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This week has inundated us with painful news from around the world, and from Israel, where 5 more people were killed by terrorist attacks, and the attacks persist.  Yet, through it all, our tradition teaches us that each day is an opportunity for us to remember the things for which we may give thanks.  Even in the darkest of times, we can find strength by seeking out the light; by focusing of the blessings of life; by joining other people who seek light and peace; and by lending our support and strength to those around us who are life affirming.

In our Torah portion of VaYetse, Jacob dreamt of a ladder with angels connecting heaven and earth.  To my mind, those angels are the people whose presence reminds us that there is a connection between heaven and earth and that there is hope. The angels in Jacob’s dream remind us that there are angels who walk among us and remind us daily of the potential for love and for life.

Today, we mourn those who are gone.  We pray for those who are in need of healing.  We strengthen our resolve to stand firm against evil.  And, at the same time, we give thanks for a Torah of life and for the people around us, Jews and non-Jews alike, who are true partners in peace – people like you and me, climbing the ladders, and bridging the gaps, in our all too imperfect world.  For them, we give thanks!

Each morning, I am reminded by our prayers that, in Jewish life, each and every day is an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving.  So, tonight at Rodef Sholom Temple, despite the painful news, we will be celebrating Shabbat with a special “Gratitude Shabbat” service and program.  I look forward to seeing you there!

I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Gilah Dror