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From Rabbi David - Gathering for Shavuot and Shabbat

05/13/2021 03:14:37 PM

May13

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to greet Shavuot, I am thinking of the poetic expression of the Torah’s injunction to count 49 days before Shavuot as seven “complete” weeks.  The completeness, or wholeness conveyed by this verse is intentional, and is emphasized further as the Torah enjoins us to count 7 days each week for 7 weeks, evoking the creation of the universe, expressed in the weekly celebration of Shabbat, and carried over into the 7-year cycle of reaping while providing for those who are most vulnerable.  This rich symbolism ensures that our ongoing yearnings for justice, spiritual connection and peace are all joined together, and particularly this year, Shavuot strikes me as a necessary reminder of the true depths of the human spirit and our capacity to bring goodness and healing to the world.

I want to urge you to take part in our two Tikkunim (study sessions for Shavuot), as well as in-person Shavuot services and...a newly added in-person service for this Shabbat.

 For our first night, Sunday evening, I along with Rabbis Jacob Fine and Sara Luria will create study and conversation around the theme of Tikkun in a Post-Pandemic world.  We know we’re not there yet, and that parts of the world are truly suffering even as conditions are beginning to ease here.  After such a long period of isolation, how do we re-engage with each other?  What deeper connections are embedded in our simple, everyday greetings and interactions?  How do we face the world anew with our fears? Our hopes?

Second night, Monday evening, we will be online as we focus on our community’s responsibility to respond to the call to support the Black community in securing reparations for the injustices of slavery and ongoing systemic racism.  This conversation will be led by a variety of voices, including community members sharing their personal reflections on learning about reparations, as well as our CBI/Abundance Farm reparations working groups.

On both Monday and Tuesday, please join us for in-person services for Shavuot, which will include singing Hallel (both days), chanting the revelation at Sinai from the Torah (first day), the Book of Ruth (second day) and Yizkor (second day).  

And for all of our in-person gatherings, we expect cheesecake to be had.

Finally, join us this Shabbat for an in-person service that will have a unique educational twist.  We will begin at 10:00 with Shacharit and time for some Torah conversation.  Then, from 11:00 - noon, we will be joined by soon-to-be B’nei Mitzvah families for Torah reading and more study of the parashah and service as part of an ongoing series.  We should finish up with Musaf around 12:15.  

And, while this in-person service takes place, we will also have our regularly scheduled Shacharit online beginning at 9:30 with online Talmud study afterward.

As we prepare to greet Shavuot, I hope we look at this season not as only a retreat from the heartbreaking violence taking place in Israel and Gaza.  This year, I am thinking of the poetic manner of the Torah’s injunction to count 49 days before Shavuot as seven “whole” weeks.  The wholeness suggested by these verses is not incidental, but is also embodied by the count of 7 days each week for 7 weeks, evoking creation, the weekly cycle of labor and renewal, and the 7-year cycle of reaping, caring for those without, and ensuring our own just living as an expression of ongoing spiritual connection.  Bearing all of this rich symbolism, Shavuot strikes me this year a necessary reminder of the true depths of the human spirit and our capacity to bring goodness and healing to the world.

Looking forward to seeing you over these next days.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,

 

Rabbi Justin David

Thu, October 21 2021 15 Cheshvan 5782