A Convergence of Secular and Torah Realms

We very much appreciate our members, friends and readers. May this coming year be a blessed one for us all.

How perfect for the secular year to end with Parshat VaY’khi, the final sedrah in the Book of Genesis. I see a convergence of the secular and Torah realms. Jacob, approaching death, calls his sons to his side. Recalling the blessings of his father, he first blesses Joseph and his sons. Then he calls the other sons to his bedside, speaking words of blessing to some and, to others, words of reprimand. His words are moving and they are honest. I regret there is no mention about what he spoke to his daughter, Dina. Estranged from the family after the fiasco back in Shechem, she becomes hidden. Did he try to find her? According to one rabbinic tradition her daughter from her relationship with Shechem, murdered by two of her brothers, was Asenath, the wife of Joseph, making her, Dina, the grandmother of Ephraim and Menasseh!

How do we look back upon this past year? Can we articulate the blessings? Can we admonish those who have hurt others? Do we try to discover what is missing in our lives? How can we both receive and bestow blessings?

On this full moon of Tevet we are hopeful. A new administration that promises greater understanding and compassion is about to take office. Baruch HaShem! Vaccines are on the way. B’H. And there is a growing awareness of the needs of others and a greater commitment to doing Tzedakah. Our sages teach us that Tzedakah, acts of kindness and “loving our neighbor as we would love ourselves” create a peaceful world.

This Shabbat is the yorhzeit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, of blessed memory. This Shabbes we will also reflect on his most cherished teachings.

In gratitude, Bivrakha, Khazak Khazak, V’Nitkhazek!   “Be Strong, be strong, and let us strengthen each other!” — Reb David

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