A Time to CHOOSE: Thoughts on the Last Shabbat of the Year, and on Rosh Hashanah! (Rabbi E in 3-D)
It's the last Shabbat of the year, and the Torah portion (Netzavim) records the words spoken by Moshe on the LAST day of his life, when he puts the CHOICE before the Jewish people of life and death, blessing and curse. The High Holidays (and Shabbat too!) are a gift and an opportunity to try to see things more clearly: what's more important in our lives, and what's not so essential. A good time to CHOOSE LIFE!
Getting Back to the Root...Your Soul!
Rabbi Yosef Edelstein of MEOR DC discusses the goal of this time in the Jewish calendar, from now and through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: teshuva, "return." There are many, many details--and many beautiful individual mitzvot in this week's Torah portion, Ki Seitzei (Devarim)--but we can't lose sight of the forest for the trees. AND NEVER LOSE SIGHT of the root: your neshama, the essence of who we are. All the mitzvot are just about nourishing the neshama, so that it can elevate and illuminate the body and the whole world!
Skip the Future Predictions....and Be Wholehearted With Hashem!
Join me, Rabbi E, for a musical Rabbi E in 3, or Rabbi E in Key (I hope) as I sing a Doris Day classic that is connected to this week's Torah portion. The portion is Shoftim (in the 5th Book of the Torah), the song is Que Sera Sera, and MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY, the mitzvah is for us NOT to inquire about the future (unless it's from a kosher prophet back in the day). We are supposed to serve Hashem each day with temimus, wholeheartedness, and not be discouraged or distracted by doomsday prophecies (or worries) that have little, if any, basis in reality. We Jews don't believe in fatalism--cheerful (like the song) or otherwise.
Seeing our Life Choice Every Day! (Rabbi E in 3-D)
In this week's Torah portion, Re'eh, we are told to SEE the choice that is given to us each and every day: to live a life connected to what's true, meaningful, lasting, eternal and life-enhancing (the pathway of mitzvot) or to go in the opposite direction and experience "klala," which is translated as "curse," but comes from a Hebrew root that means "light" or "insubstantial." Rabbi Edelstein of Mesorah DC discusses!
Tisha b'Av: Seeing the Glass (and our Hearts) as Half Empty!
Tisha b'Av (the Ninth of Av), which will be observed from Saturday sundown to Sunday nightfall is a very ABNORMAL day in the Jewish calendar. It's about seeing the glass--and our hearts--as (at least) half empty, it's about "getting in touch" with our being OUT of touch with our deeper spirituality, and about confronting the reality of a world that is NOT as it should be. Rabbi Edelstein of MEOR DC discusses.
42 Phases in our Spiritual Journey Through Life! (Rabbi E in 3-D, Mattos/Masei, '81)
We go through 42 spiritual journeys in our lives--or 42 phases in our broader spiritual journey through life--as we progress from birth to the time when we leave this physical world. This mystical teaching is connected to the second of this week's double Torah portion, Masei (which completes the Book of Bamidbar). I can't pretend to fully explain (or understand) the details of this mystical concept, but I DO find it intriguing and elevating: it reminds us that the purpose of our lives is to grow spiritually, to face challenges and situations of all kinds with the knowledge that they are not "random occurrences" but divinely orchestrated stages/journeys in our lives, precisely designed to help each of us actualize our potential. Tune in as I, Rabbi Edelstein of MEOR DC, discuss.