This week we begin at the beginning again – we roll our Sefer Torah to Bereshit, and read about the beginning of Creation. What are you beginning this season? As you roll the Sefer of your life, what is your order of creation in these coming days? Looking forward to speaking with you as you are able to share some of your plans.

I wanted to take a moment and talk about meetings and greetings. Within our tradition we have all manner of greetings that are seasonally specific – Shana tova and Chag sameach, moadim l’simcha – for example are just a few greetings that you have been hearing and seeing over these past weeks.

But we also have a repertoire of greetings for people to wish them honour and strength after they have had an Aliyah, or given us a beautiful rendition of a prayer in song or read Torah. Here are a few – please, let’s put these acknowledgments into practice at Kolot Mayim.

Kol ha Kavod(כול הכבוד): Literally, “All the honor”, as in “More honor to you!” “Well done.”

Yasher koach (m) or yasher kohach (f): Heb יישר כוח “yashar kochech”. Yiddish יישר־כּוח lit. ‘straight strength/power’ During a service, after someone reads Torah or gives a sermon or drash , community members may say, “Yasher koach!” (You may also hear from the last of the red-hot Ashkanzim – this version: Sh’koyach

If you get an aliyah or other honor in shul and people say Yasher Koach to you, the proper way to respond to a man is to say “Baruch Tihiyeh” (“You shall be blessed”). And the response to a woman who has offered a yasher kochech would be … Baruch Tihiyi (TEE-hee-YEE).

May we all go from strength to strength in this year of 5783.Kein yihe ratzon,

Rabbi Lynn