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The Weekly Share – 6 Tishrei

The Weekly Share – 6 Tishrei

Food For the Soul

When G-d Goes Into Hiding

Our history has not always been rosy. We have experienced tranquility, peace, and spiritual greatness, yet we have also experienced terrible exile, destruction, and persecution. Indeed, on the last day of Moses’ life, G-d tells him what will befall the people when they abandon G-d.

These harsh words were not merely to warn the Jewish people of the consequences for abandoning their destiny. Perhaps more importantly, the purpose was to ensure that the people would correctly interpret and respond to the difficult exile.

We are here as Jews today, because generations of Jews understood this truth: That the exile is not the absence of G-d’s love and presence, but merely a concealment of His grace. “I will hide My face on that day,” says G-d, and the Jewish people understood that hiding is by no means an abandonment. They felt G-d’s presence even in the most difficult circumstances.

And then came the mystics, who understood that all existence is dependent upon G-d, and that there is no place devoid of Him. When they looked at darkness, they understood that although G-d’s presence is not revealed, His essence is still present. They understood that the most powerful message in the verse “And I will hide My face on that day,” is not that G-d will hide, but that even within the concealment, He is very much present.

Every year, this portion is read in proximity to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when we engage in introspection, and seek atonement and spiritual betterment, looking back at the moments of joy and inspiration, but also the darkness and hurt of the past year. The Torah teaches that specifically in the moments of concealment lies the potential to reach the deepest part of ourselves. When we feel no inspiration, no excitement, no enthusiasm, we must understand that the concealment is a tool to encourage us to reach deeper within ourselves, to get in touch with our own core. Doing so will allow us to discover that within the concealment we can access the deepest Divine strength, and, ultimately, transform the darkness into light.

From an article by Rabbi Menachem Feldman

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shuvah

The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah, “Shabbat of Return.” The name derives from the Haftarah (reading from the prophets) for this Shabbat, which opens with the words (Hosea 14:2), “Return O Israel unto the L-rd your G-d…” Occurring in the “Ten Days of Repentance” (see “Laws & Customs” for Tishrei 3), it is a most auspicious time to rectify the failings and missed opportunities of the past and positively influence the coming year.

Yom Kippur 2022 (the Day of Atonement): October 4–5

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year—the day on which we are closest to G-d and to the quintessence of our own souls. For nearly twenty-six hours we “afflict our souls”: we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather footwear, and abstain from marital relations. Instead our time is spent in prayer to G-d.  For details about observing Yom Kippur visit

Mind Over Matter

What To Do On Your 120th Birthday

Towards the end of Deuteronomy [Parsha Vayelach] describes the last day of Moses’ life: “And Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them: ‘I am a hundred and twenty years old this day…'”What did Moses do on his 120th birthday? He went! He moved! He grew. He inspired. He taught. He blessed. He accomplished.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day. That is 86,400 opportunities to fulfill the will of G-d in mind, speech, and action.

Moses, who knew the meaning of life, and who appreciated every minute of it, filled up his last day with as much action as possible. He had one more day to grow, and he maximized it.

From an article by Rabbi Levi Avtzon

Moshiach Thoughts

The Matching Game

Like a matching game, each act of beauty uncovers another face of the infinite. Each generation completes its part of the puzzle. Until the table is set and prepared. Until all that remains is for the curtains to be raised, the clouds to dissipate, the sun to shine down on all our bruised and bloodied hands have planted, and let it blossom and bear fruit.

That is where we are now. We know a world in the process of becoming. Soon will be a world where each thing has arrived.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

Have I Got A Story

If A Ceiling Could Talk

When I was a child, I was fascinated by the stucco ceiling in our family room. One moment I’d be gazing at crags and cliffs, and then suddenly it would invert. Instead of jagged peaks, the ceiling would turn into a landscape of rugged curves and valleys. 

That textured ceiling has come to mind on occasion when I’ve had to grapple with a tough choice. First, there are agonizing hours of wavering and uncertainty. Then comes a sudden, almost breathtaking shift in perspective that makes the right decision stunningly clear.

In this week’s Torah portion, we find the following directive: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. You shall choose life.” What does it mean to choose life? It’s not as if we need to be told to live. Rather, G-d is telling us that by choosing to follow His ways, we are choosing a good life. A blessed life.

But this brings us to the age-old question “Why do the wicked prosper?” Why do we see evil people enjoying success in this world while good people struggle? One of the classic answers is that while evil people may seem to be living it up in this world, they will suffer in the next, while the righteous will receive their reward in the world to come. Earthly pleasures are finite, but spiritual pleasures are infinite.

The problem with this answer is that many of us haven’t got the patience to wait for the world to come. Our struggles are now, and we want relief now. But maybe the answer isn’t some logical discourse, but a shift in perspective. A good life is defined not by what you get, but by what you give. And when you look at life this way, the question disappears. It becomes almost irrelevant. No matter how little I have, there is always something I can do—some way I can reach out to someone who has less than I do. By the same token, a life defined by how much you get can never satisfy. No matter how much you have, you always want more and more.

I am reminded of the story of Rabbi Akiva and his wife, Rachel, who lived in dire poverty after Rachel was disinherited by her wealthy father. One night, a beggar knocked on their door and asked for a bundle of straw. His wife had just given birth, and she had nothing to lie down on. Rabbi Akiva gladly handed over one of their bundles. Later, he remarked to his wife: “See, my dear, there are those who fare worse than we do.”

I won’t say that I hold on to this perspective all the time. Like our stucco ceiling, I find that it shifts in and out of focus. Some days I am able to lift myself above the challenges and see how, indeed, my life is pretty good. Other days I get bogged down by the daily grind, and I wallow in self-pity over the things I don’t have. In order to be able to “choose life,” we need to be able to see it—to recognize it as life. And this is what the Torah’s command gives us. It’s not really a directive. The point isn’t to tell us what to do, but to show us—to help us hold on to the perspective, to help us see how much more there is to life than physical ease and comfort.

From an article by Chaya Shuchat

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