Moses comes down from Sinai, sees the Israelites worshiping the Golden calf, and smashes the two tablets of covenant – the 10 commandments.
He breaks the “the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18).
He climbs again to Mount Sinai and this time God dictates and Moses writes on the two Tablets, the first set was made by God, the second set was made in partnership by God and Moses.
Only when we partner with the Divine it is not broken.
Rabbi Rapport joined the Rotary Club on February 21 to speak about:
“Building Bridges In A Time of Division and Hate”
Religious freedom and interfaith cooperation in America stand at a crossroad. Americans as a whole profess increasingly warm and welcoming attitudes towards Judaism, Islam, and other minority faiths. And yet harassment, vandalism and attacks against Jews and hate crimes against other minorities are rising at an alarming rate. How will we respond to violent attacks on American synagogues, Nazis and Klansmen marching in our streets, and acts of vandalism against cemeteries and places of worship? This will define us as a community and a nation.
Louisville has a long history of religious cooperation and respect. This has carried us through difficult times before and can serve as a model for the trying times we are faced with today. Rabbi Rapport will lead an engaging conversation on the challenges of rising antisemitism in America. He will discuss its causes and conflicts, and what we as a compassionate community in Louisville can do to stand strong for the values of religious freedom and the strength of diversity which together make us one.
Learn more about Rotary Club at http://www.louisvillerotary.org/
The High Priest is told to carry stones with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on their shoulders and on their hearts at all times.
To remember at all times that it is not about them – leadership is for the people you lead.
Real leaders must carry the needs of the people on their hearts and shoulders at all times. It is never about the needs or ego of the leader – it is about who you serve.
“And let them build for Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8)
Here in this week’s portion God instructs the Children of Israel to build a Tabernacle which they carried with them as their portable sanctuary throughout the forty years of wanderings in the desert. This was the place where their sacrifices would be offered. It was here that Moses would meet God and seek God’s direction and advice. The Tabernacle was God’s home in the midst of the people. But, surely they understood that God’s presence was not held within this one small space. God’s presence can be seen in all the earth.
They saw God in the signs and wonders with which God freed them from Egypt, in the parting of the Red Sea, in the receiving of the Commandments on Mount Sinai, and as the pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke which led them on their journey to the Promised Land. God fed them with manna, protected them from danger, and commanded them toward righteousness ever step along their way. Surely, they saw God’s presence in their lives, in their world, in their hopes and in their dreams.
Finding God, hearing God’s voice, knowing how to be God’s people here upon this earth – these are not nearly as clear for us in our own lives today. God’s presence still pervades our world, but
“Where is the dwelling place of God?” The great chasidic master, Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, answered the question: “God dwells wherever we let God in.”
Our 7th & 8th grade elective “Explore-A The Torah” created this amazing mural for their Religious School class. The mural is called “The Creation”. Our students carefully picked out each color, contrasting light and dark, warm and cool, to draw your eyes to the center of the piece. The center has Adam and Eve holding an Apple with a Holy glow illuminating them in the Garden Of Eden.
The Religious School curriculum encourages the understanding of:
- Shabbat, Jewish holidays, and Jewish symbols
- Blessings, customs, and life cycle events
- Torah stories and their relevance in our lives today
- Mitzvot (commandments, values, and good deeds)
- Connections between Torah, worship, and our lives
- An appreciation for the people and State of Israel
- The history of the Jewish people
- The Holocaust and anti-Semitism
- Jewish music, arts & crafts, and children’s literature
- Tzedakah projects and social action
On Friday, February 1, students of The Temple’s 5th grade led Shabbat family services. They made a special presentation on modern day prophecy and how they are repairing the world. As with all of our family services, Rabbi Rapport led a special Tot Shabbat for our younger members to celebrate Shabbat.
Family Services are held during the school year when our Religious School classes take turns leading services. These “Family Services” are usually held on the second Friday of the month and take place after a Family Shabbat Dinner. Led by the older students, only one service is held for the entire congregation. Twice a year, usually at the beginning and end of the school year, we hold a more relaxed and informal “Blue Jean Shabbat”.
And the People of Israel said: “All that God has spoken we will do and we will hear.” (Exodus 24:7)
With these words our people committed themselves to the service of God. In Hebrew we said, “na-aseh v’nishma” we will do and we will hear. Does it occur to you that the words we spoke standing at Sinai way back then… are backwards? Shouldn’t we have said we will “hear” God’s words before we agreed to “do” them?
Well, that depends on the nature of the relationship. If you are signing a contract with a total stranger, you might want to read it all first before agreeing to the conditions. On the other hand, if your mother, or father, or best friend, were to ask you to do something for them, you might reasonably say something like: Sure, what is it? “We will do and we will hear.”
In other words we were already in a relationship with God before we ever signed on to the covenant set forth in the Torah. We were already God’s people and God was already our God. This is what it means to be partners with God in an Eternal Covenant. It has always been and it will always be, God willing, and if, the People of Israel, we are willing to sustain it.
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