Moving towards Elul – Friday evening we are brought into Elul. Shoftim refers to our judges. What are the qualities that we look for in our judges? Judges must not have their judgment perverted by bribery because “a bribe will blind the eyes of the wise and make just words crooked.” And then we read, “Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof.” Righteousness, righteousness, shall you pursue. All of us.More
From the Rabbi’s Desk
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.
August has arrived –blackberries, blueberries and figs are abundant right now; preserving and jam-making is one of August’s tasks for many of us. We want to preserve the abundance of the moment, uncertain of our own supply chain, in light of the Covid pandemic which is still informing our decisions about how and where we meet. Sadly, physical distancing requirements whilst meeting indoors still precludes our gathering together for Shabbat services. However, we have had most enthusiastic response from you about wanting to gather together this week at Gyro Park – we are all missing that elemental Jewish ingredient – face-to-face contact!
One of the most mysterious and moving verses in Torah is when Moses finally catches a glimpse (albeit, an exceedingly peripheral glimpse) of God. Moses asks God “Show me your glory.” God cannot be seen by any human being, but God tells Moshe, “Stand in the cleft of the rock” and “you will see My back, but My face must not be seen” (Exodus 33: 17-23).
Monday, Monday – somehow my mind is wandering back to songs of the ‘70’s!
Again, mazal tov to Willem Hanevelt, Tyler, Katrina Greenfield and Jay Hanevelt from all of us at Kolot Mayim. What a wonderful simcha we witnessed on Shabbat morning this past week. I heard from several of you about how moving you found his ceremony – even on Zoom!More
Another wet and rainy Monday morning – our water bills are being subsidized this year! Many of us are enjoying our gardens with a little more attention as we stay home more than in past years. Some of us are first time gardeners (my brother in Calgary), and some of us have expanded our living space given over to growing vegetables and flowers and fruits of all kinds. Kestrel and Liza’s balcony spilleth over!
This week (Sunday through Wednesday), I am attending a conference for those of us involved with the Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Societies) and Jewish funerals. The conference is held every year by an organization called Kavod V’Nichum. Nineteen years ago I was in a kitchen in Columbia, Maryland with the executive director of KVN, David Zinner, and with Rena Boroditsky from the Chesed Shel Emes Winnipeg, as we planned out the programme for our very first conference.
The sun is trying. Garden party season is virtually upon us – we live in hope. The blossoms went to my head last week– this week is Parashat Naso!!
I don’t comment on world events very often – we have multiple sources of information available to us these days, with whatever built-in biases they may hold. But as we watch the large cities of the United States burn, and black families post story after story of their desperation to keep their sons (in particular) safe, as we watch the events unfolding from the murder – I think I am safe in using this word – of George Floyd, I have to say something.More
This week in Torah we read the book of Naso – which has one of our most significant blessings:
Many Jews recite this blessing over the heads of their children on Friday nights before reciting Kiddush. It is a special moment in the family when parents come up to their children and acknowledge the circle of blessing they live within. The blessing originates as a Blessing of the Kohanim, the Priestly class, and today in more traditional synagogues on certain days the Kohanim are still called to raise their hands, separate their fingers, and recite this blessing over their congregants. It is a ceremony both mystical and profoundly touching.
This week, in Torah, we enter the Wilderness, the Book of Bamidbar. In B.C., we also begin a new phase of re-opening and re-entering, as we might go to places we have not seen for months now. We enter those new spaces carefully, avoiding risk where we can, and hopefully, we will continue to listen to moderating provincial guidelines.