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Rabbi’s Blog - Nov. 18: On Being Thankful

11/18/2021 01:28:59 PM


Dear OZ family,

With the conjunction of Thanksgiving weekend and Chanukah just around the corner, it behooves us to remember that for Jews every single day is cause for giving thanks. “Thanks” is the first word on our lips every morning when we declare gratitude for another day, and contemplate the  opportunities of what the day has in store for us.

That word is “Modeh” as in “Modeh ani l’fanecha”. We are called Jews because Leah expressed gratitude at her lot and named her son Yehudah. Yehudah evolves into a flawed character in the next few weeks of Torah readings, yet grows to demonstrate the qualities of courage, conviction, empathy, integrity, and selflessness that qualified him for leadership.

Our sages maintain that King Saul was a much higher specimen of perfection than King David, yet their kingdoms took exact opposite directions because David had the humility and self recognition to realize his flaws while Saul did not. How could he? Saul felt he had no flaws. We are imperfect, and Yaacov in this week’s Parsha attempts to undo some of his own imperfect past with his brother.

The narratives of Tanach do not shy away from revealing the imperfections of its characters. The greatest of biblical personalities emerge from their stories redeemed by the very descriptions listed above of Yehudah. It’s all about redemption, rehabilitation, and the realization that we are at our best when we determine to be better.

Please join me in wishing Mazel Tov to Rena & David Jaroslawicz on the birth of a grandson, a boy born to their children Yoni & Chloe. May they take their newborn to the Bris of Avraham in a good time.

Alisa joins me in expressing gratitude to our shul of 34 years for all their good wishes these last six months. Our six- month checkup went very well and we have been given the green light for travel.

We will be away until Erev Chanukah and I am available on email. Phone messages left at my shul voicemail are transcribed to my email. I can also be reached if needed in the moment, at 917 270-9987.

Be safe.  Be healthy. Be excellent.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz


Mon, June 27 2022 28 Sivan 5782