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Membership 5783

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Highlighted Sermons

Rabbi Kevin Carp Lefkowitz

"Embracing Jewish Peoplehood"

Shabbat Devarim

August 6, 2022

 

Previously recorded sermons are available on our YouTube Channel by clicking here.

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Events and Services

August 13, 9:30am - Shabbat Services 

August 19, 6:30pm - Sha-BBQ

August 20, 7:00pm - Concert in the Courtyard

August 21, 10:00am - Family Fun at Adat Shalom Event

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Commentary on the Parshah

Va'Etchanan

Parshat Va’Etchanan includes both the Shema and Ten Commandments, but I would instead like to focus on what appears to be a superfluous word in chapter 4 verse 5.

 

רְאֵ֣ה ׀ לִמַּ֣דְתִּי אֶתְכֶ֗ם חֻקִּים֙ וּמִשְׁפָּטִ֔ים כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוַּ֖נִי ה' אֱלֹהָ֑י לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת כֵּ֔ן בְּקֶ֣רֶב הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר

אַתֶּ֛ם בָּאִ֥ים שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ

 

See, I have imparted to you laws and rules, as my God has commanded me, for you to abide by in the land that you are about to enter and occupy.”

 

Why the word “see?” Why not begin with “I have imparted?”

 

The laws are not intended to be understood philosophically and taught with words. They are meant to be observed in real life and learned through real action. This small inclusion in Moses’ preamble to the Ten Commandments, a statement emphasizing their importance for the Jewish People, teaches us to value the mimetic component of Jewish life. As Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson teaches, we learn to kiss fallen siddurim or when to bow during prayer when we first see others do those things. This is because we often learn best by doing and practicing what we are trying to learn. On the flip side, not only for our children do we act as role models. People are watching us and learning from how we conduct ourselves socially, ritually and ethically.

 

To quote another great, Yogi Berra, “you can observe a lot just by watching.” Playing with another definition of the word “observe,” when you are watched performing the mitzvot, you are observing the commandment to teach them to others in the process. 

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kevin Carp Lefkowitz

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Wed, August 10 2022 13 Av 5782