- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On February 2, 2018
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflections as we move toward Shabbat.
This is a week of the potential for magnificence. When history is written, rewritten, examined and re-examined, play by play, minute by minute, a narrative will emerge with new meaning.
I’m not speaking of football, though I certainly could! How could anything top last year with that 4th quarter catch of the ball that seemed to float in midair inches above the ground—ahh, but I digress.
In the Torah this week, we reach the climactic moment of Sinai, a scene far better than any half time show. Thunder and lightning. The shofar resounding. Unimaginable beauty. And the best? Everyone goes home with Torah!
The Torah often gets center stage, as it should, but sometimes its helpful to look around at what is happening below the mountain.
This is the story of Jethro, priest of Midian, Moses’ father in law. When we last encountered both Moses and Jethro, Moses was informing Jethro that the God of the Israelites had summoned Moses and commissioned him to go to Pharaoh to dutifully and emphatically instruct the enslaver of his people to let them go so that they could worship Adonai, the Eternal God. As our story unfolded, Moses had left Egypt, led the people toward the sea, squelched and responded to their first of many complaining tirades and anxious expressions as a freed people.
When Jethro heard about the experience of redemption, the Torah tells us that he rejoiced. (Exodus 18:9) He appreciated the magnificence of the moment. But, the people had complained and lost perspective. Jethro was a breath of fresh air. He brought forward a different attitude. He modeled a positive approach and might have served as the very first coach.
Shabbat allows us to step outside of ourselves even as we enter into the day. Sometimes stepping away brings us back in with a different outlook and attitude. It shakes us loose from our self-assured perceptions. Then, we re-engage, refreshed, ready to take on the week again. That is what Shabbat can provide. We don’t know what might happen the day after Shabbat, but we do know we will have the strength and energy to catch whatever comes our way and take it far into the end zone.
Let’s join together for Shabbat tonight at 6:00 p.m. Live stream here. The Riverway Project (for 20s and 30s) is hosting a Shabbat dinner for people who identify as queer or LGBTQIA. Required pre-registration closes at 2:00pm today, register HERE.
Let’s study together in the morning at 9:00 a.m. in an engaging, lively discussion on the Torah portion. We start with a short, song filled service. The little ones gather for Thank Goodness It’s Shabbat at 10:00 a.m. FJECC and the Village at TI will enjoy Havdalah together in the afternoon.
I look forward to your comments and reflections offered directly and confidentially to me HERE.