Dear friends,

Last Friday night we gathered to celebrate Shabbat at Gyro Park – but our plans were somewhat derailed by the generosity of nature – a mist became a shpritz became a sprinkle… A few hardy souls turned out – 27 I think in total, and we had a lovely opportunity to schmooze for a while, welcome Mary Casselman into the tribe, and generally enjoy being together amongst the shpritzing under a canopy of trees! Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”  We will try again on the 21st – same location. Come and join us. Details to be posted next week.

This week in our sequence of Torah readings, we read the command Re’eh: SEE!  I have always loved this parashah. From the moment we awaken we can choose to see with an ayin tova – a good eye, or not.

Re’eh reminds us to listen to the mitzvoth we have been given – each and every day. Each day is a new day – we make choices every day. And even if we do sin – who does not – as Kohelet teaches us: ”there is no one so righteous as to do good and never sin.”

This past Friday, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz died. There have been many tributes published about the tremendous contributions Rabbi Steinsaltz made – including his translation of Talmud into English – including commentary to make the cryptic notes of the rabbis more understandable. This task took him 45 years. H was born into a secular family, and even though his father was not religious he sent his son the study Talmud. In 1965 he founded the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications = his purpose was to educate and his favourite saying was “Let my people know.”

On Sunday morning I opened my Facebook feed to some words of wisdom from a Bar Mitzvah student ten years ago:

Mr. Alex Lupin taught us, “Learning about blessings has taught me to follow the cheese. What do I mean by this? We must look for our cheese – and we must make our blessing. God has given each of us a cheese, our purpose, so that we can give to the world the very best we can be. We need to be a blessing.” Amen v’amen.

From a Bar Mitzvah bocher to a giant of our generation – let us each seek our purpose in this life, and in doing so, learn together.

May these weeks ahead, as we prepare for the coming New Year, may we all awaken with a renewed sense of purpose and direction. Follow your cheese!

Kol tuv,

Rabbi Lynn