‘Shabbat’ Category

Shabbat

June 3, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Sermon for Cantor Showcase of Unique Torah — Our Unique and Godly Torah

*Sermon for Friday night of "Cantor Showcase of Unique Torah" (Shabbat prior to Shavuot) – May 30, 2014  Our Unique and Godly Torah Rabbi Ari Saks Some of you may remember a story my father told during my installation on this same bimah over a year and a half ago. I was a little boy in Benton Harbor and my father and I had just come back from shul on Simhat Torah. As we approached home I started making a frantic pointing motion in a not-so-specific direction (with the requisite grunting of a child). So my father, in attempting to respond my neediness, took me on a walk trying to follow my random pointing. Eventually we ended up back at shul where my pointing got[...]

Category : Bulletin Articles Cantorial Showcase Holidays home Rabbi Sermons Shabbat Shavuot
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Shabbat

May 23, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 692: A Shabbat of Life

Dear Hevreh, Every Shabbat we gather together to sing the joys of life, to share the moments the matter, to offer our prayers on behalf of those who are ill, and to recall the memory of our loved ones. In short, every Shabbat we have an opportunity to appreciate all that is contained within life. Some weeks we are more joyous, some weeks we are more sad, but all weeks are necessary parts of the fabric of life. So whether you are sad, happy, concerned, excited, curious, upset, or all of the emotions in between, join us this Shabbatat 8 pm tonight and 10 am tomorrow to share these important feelings of life together. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Ari Saks P.S. For those[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

April 13, 2014
By bethmordecai
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Sermon for Shabbat Hagadol (April 12, 2014): Faith In Words

Faith in Words Sermon for Shabbat Hagadol (April 12th 2014) Rabbi Ari Saks Congregation Beth Mordecai Once there was a king who ruled many kingdoms, yet no matter how much wealth he amassed, no matter how many people he helped, he never felt at peace. His mind raced in so many different directions he could never feel as if he was in the right place at the right time. When he was sad he wanted to be happy, and for some reason when he was happy, he wanted to be sad. Well, he thought, if my mind is never at peace then neither should my kingdom. So he set about making every part of his kingdom the opposite of what it should be –[...]

Category : Cantorial Showcase home Passover Rabbi Sermons Shabbat
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Shabbat

April 4, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 643: Aspiring To Be More Like A Family

Dear Hevreh, When I was in rabbinical school, we talked a good deal about the language we use to describe our communities. One of the terms that got tossed around a lot was "family." It's a word that connotes a feeling of closeness, of connection, of security, and of a deep and powerful bond that holds us together. Yet there is a certain amount of poetic license in describing our synagogue community as a family. Not only are most of us not related, but despite the close bonds that some of us feel with one another, do we really have such strong ties that each of us would call each other "family"?    Personally, I've tried to be cognizant of how often I describe[...]

Category : Family Shabbat Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

March 21, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 629: Repeating Shabbat

(3/21/14)   I don't know about you but there aren't many ways we can top last Homecoming Shabbat. The excitement, the energy, the food, the fun, it's hard to replicate what took nearly a year to create.    But that's ok, because Shabbat doesn't need replication; Shabbat just needs to be repeated.   Every week is full of different experiences and different adventures in our lives. Some are good, some are bad, some are indifferent, some are exciting, but each one is unique and adds another layer to the stories of our lives. Shabbat comes at the end of each week to help us process and appreciate the story we just added that week to our unique life experience, to our unending Unique Torah.   So come share[...]

Category : Homecoming Weekend Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

March 7, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 615: Reflecting On the Purpose of Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Dear Hevreh, If you take a look around the internet or ask a number of Jewish leaders, you might get the feeling that a bar or bat mitzvah (plural = b'nei mitzvah) is not such a good thing. Too much time focused on the party, too little emphasis on the meaning of "coming of age," too much memorization of random words and phrases in Hebrew of uninspiring Torah and Haftarah portions. If you listen to enough of the noise about b'nei mitzvah you might get the impression that they signal the decline of Jewish life.    I admit that I often agreed with these sentiments, perhaps because when I became a bar mitzvah I wanted to do and lead much more of the ritual service than my peers, including reading all of [...]

Category : Bar and Bat Mitzvah Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

February 20, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 600: Today I want to try to come even closer to the Holy One Blessed Be He

Dear Hevreh, While many of our traditional prayers date back nearly 1700 years to the time of themishnah, there are elements of our "traditional" liturgy that date only 500 or so years ago to the time of the mystics (m'kubalim) in the holy city of Tzfat. What's amazing is not necessarily that these "modern" prayers, most notably L'kha Dodi and the creation of theKabbalat Shabbat service have been accepted into our traditional liturgy, but that they were universally done so within a single century! For a world in which ancient is defined as yesterday's Twitter feed, a century may seem like a long time for a a prayer service to go "viral." But seen in context of a liturgy that hasn't changed substantially in nearly 1700 years,[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat White Out Friday Night
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Shabbat

February 14, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 594: Friday Night Alive

(2/14/14)  One year after college while I was working at Park Avenue Synagogue as a Torah reader, the leadership of the synagogue decided to celebrate the dedication of their new Torah by bringing in Jewish singer/songwriter Craig Taubman, who created a highly successful "rock concert-like" Friday night service in Los Angeles known as Friday Night Live. I remember attending the event and feeling a powerful energy emanating from the music, the crowd, and the spirit of the evening. I could see why this event, which happens on a regular basis in LA, is called "Friday Night Live" - because it makes Friday night comealive.    Perhaps one day we will be able to bring Craig Taubman or a similar performer to[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat White Out Friday Night
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Shabbat

February 7, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 587: Sign Up Today For Homecoming and Bring Our Past Closer To Our Present

Dear Hevreh, In just a few days many of you will be receiving a thick envelope in the mail from the congregation, if you haven't already. This envelope is not your ordinary shul reminder. It does not contain a bill or a yahrtzeit letter or even a thank you note. No, this envelope constitutes a promise to remember where we came from as we move towards where we are going.   See, this envelope contains all of the information you will need about our upcoming Homecoming Weekend on March 14-16, including highlights (like our Schmooze Cruise and Brunch with Rabbis Barry Dov Schwartz and Melinda Zalma), scheduling, and registration forms. But more importantly, embedded within all of these details is the desire to bring our past closer to our present[...]

Category : Family Shabbat Homecoming Weekend Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

January 31, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 580: Torah Can Only Be Acquired In Community

(1/31/14)  As we enter into another Shabbat, another opportunity to spend time together and learn together in community, I want to share a simple thought from the Talmud about the meaning of community:   אין התורה נקנית אלא בחבורה (ברכות סג:) Eyn ha-Torah nikneit ela b'havurah (B'rakhot 63b) The knowledge of Torah can only be acquired in a community (Tractate B'rakhot 63b)   There is something unique about the knowledge and secrets embedded in the Torah that, according to this teaching, they can only be revealed when we learn it together. Yes, learning Torah is a fascinating intellectual exercise for the individual, but it becomes something more, something larger, when we open ourselves to hearing the interpretations of other lovers of Torah. And if Torah learning is the foundation[...]

Category : Homecoming Weekend Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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