Sunday, December 27, 2015

Belated Posts of Chanukah Musings from Las Vegas

Shabbat Chanukah Greetings
The weekend is here and with it the chance to sit back, reflect, and spend some family time (and I hope that includes time that does not involve chauffeuring younger family members!). I'm in Las Vegas this Shabbat - a strange place to be for Shabbos I know. But I've found a lovely Reconstructionist service to go to tonight and a Torah study for tomorrow morning. That should keep me out of trouble.

Being here in Las Vegas is surreal - the lights, the noise, the casinos, the over-the-topness of it all. It feels like an alternate reality to the reality of life before I got here last night. A reality of more mass shootings in the US, more people killed and wounded in Israel, more people saying things publicly that you hope they really don't mean.

This week's Torah portion, Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23) also reminds us that life holds these contradictions and sometimes, to learn important values, we must view things in a mixed-up sort of way - Joseph's brothers sell him into slavery, Tamar disguising herself as a prostitute in order to fulfill a family commitment from her father-in-law Judah and Potiphar's wife trying to seduce Joseph and getting him thrown in jail after accusing him of attempted rape. These stories are all rather strange but at core they touch on fundamental human values - family, honour, promise keeping, loyalty.

This note to you is my transition into Shabbat. My time to reflect about what is important in life: family, community, love, peace. May we all take into account what our important values are and try to uphold them as best we can. May we pray this Shabbat for peace for all peoples and strengthen this prayer by doing acts of loving kindness.

Oseh Shalom bimromav, Hu ya'a'seh shalom aleinu, v'al kol Israel, v'al kol yoshvei tevel. V'imru Amen.

May the Awesome One who brings peace upon us, bring peace upon all of the people Israel and upon all those who reside on this planet. And let us say, Amen.

Shabbat Las Vegas Musing

It's strange celebrating Shabbat in a casino resort, a place that has no havdil/differentiation between day and night, light and dark. It's as if the Awesome One skipped this place during the first day of creation. I need to think on this a bit. 

Went to a lively Kabbalat Shabbat service at Pnai Tikvah Reconstructionist shul with Rabbi Yocheved Mintz and some very enthusiastic younger people. Really needed that to help usher in the existence of Shabbat.

Shabbat Blessings.....

May the light of Shabbat, along with the last lingering tendrils of light from the Chanukah candles, brighten this Shabbat with love, peace and tolerance. May our eyes be opened and our hearts accepting of all who come to us in friendship.
Shabbat Shalom u'M'vorach (Shabbat blessings of Peace)

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