Shavua tov, everyone,
This week, we are reading Chaye Sarah, literally the life of Sarah. But as soon as we enter into this passage we realize Sarah has died in Kiryat Arba, or Hebron, at the age of 127. Many of our commentators, including Rashi, read into the juxtaposition of the Akedah, the binding and near-death of Isaac, with the death of Sarah. According to various Midrashim, Sarah is told Abraham killed Isaac, or he nearly killed Isaac, and in the third midrash Isaac returns to her. But in answer to her questioning of him, he tells her of what happened – and her joy in her son is cut. She wailed – and died, the sounds of the shofar accompanying her death.
Shavua tov, everyone,
What a wonderful Kabbalat Shabbat we had this past Friday night, with guests newly arrived from Ottawa, Winnipeg/Victoria and then a contingent of young people and adults from a local Unitarian church – we were a full house!!
Shavua tov, everyone. I am just back from Rabbi Allan Finkel’s installation as rabbi for Temple Shalom, the Reform synagogue in Winnipeg. What a weekend. Rabbis Stewart Gordon of NYC joined us as did Rabbi Billy Love, a rabbi/lawyer/judge from Philadelphia, who sat on our beit din in New York when we were ordained. We celebrated Rabbi Allan’s installation with a grand reunion over much eating! We seem to have a direct link between Winnipeg and Victoria – with much to celebrate.
I will be in Winnipeg for the reading of Bereshit – a very special beginning. Rabbi Allan Finkel, who was present for my installation as rabbi of Kolot Mayim, will be installed as rabbi of Winnipeg’s Temple Shalom. I will be staying with family friends – which is good as many of the hotels are being set aside for people who have been displaced from their housing due to the recent very early and very heavy snowfalls in Manitoba.
We are still in the cycles of Tishrei holidays; from preparations for Rosh Hashanah through Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur to Sukkot/Hoshanah Rabbah, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, we have one long journey of joy. This year our Federal election is on the day of Shmini Atzeret and the evening of first night Simchat Torah – I think instead of dancing with a Sefer Torah in our arms, many of us will be glued to the news.
You have been very kind, sending me messages of condolence after the death of my brother David. I thought I would share with you a few words I sent to India, to be read at his funeral.
We send love to David’s wife, Theresa and to all who loved David. We are David’s siblings Lynn, Anne, and Ted Greenhough; Lynn’s husband Aaron Devor and Ted’s wife, Michelle. We have been receiving many messages of love and support – and shock – at the news of David dying so precipitously.
We are days away from celebrating our New Year, Rosh HaShanah, some of us are making lists of groceries to buy, preparing special desserts, baking round challot, checking to see if we have our supply of honey in. I am practicing my singing to re-embed the special melodies, the nusach, for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Our holidays bring a measure of preparation with them, as do all special occasions. The taste, the flavours, the tam of each holiday is unique and special.
Imagine being on the other side of Torah. We read these words, and we “hear” them perhaps, often as if we were speaking these words to ourselves, but imagine if we were there (wherever there is – maybe here?) and we were listening. Lots of words are going by us, hour after hour – how are we ever going to remember all these details? We may be hungry, we may need to sit down, our children are fussy, and still, Moshe goes on and on about what we need to know. Remind you of some synagogue services you have sat through?