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Growth and Bounty

07/21/2023 08:55:47 AM

Jul21

This past Monday evening, I brought my son Jonah to Temple so we could help out in the Mitzvah Garden together.  Our volunteers took him right in hand as we tied, weeded and sorted.  The greenery was lovely, and so was the knowledge that we were not only participating in the mitzvah of feeding those who are poor or disenfranchised, but also doing our part to create peace and beauty in our corner of the world.  All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening!  I encourage you to participate too; more volunteers are always welcome and needed.

Jewishly speaking, it’s a counterintuitive time to nurture bounty and growth.  These are the saddest weeks of the year, leading up to Tisha B’Av in a few short days.  The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av is when we mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and look back with sorrow at other tragedies and dislocations associated with this day.  Tisha B’Av was a time of sorrow and diminishment for our people, as we wondered despairingly how Judaism could ever go on without the rites and rituals that only the Temple could provide.  Growth seemed impossible.

And yet.  Even before Tisha B’Av struck, conditions were beginning to shift.  Priestly authority started to see itself transferred to the rabbis of the time, and with that a new kind of Judaism flourished.  It was one filled with learning and literature, ritual and family-based teaching.  Even out of the worst kind of destruction, there really was a great rebirth over time.

Maybe we are celebrating growth and bounty after all. 

An early Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rebecca Gutterman

Wed, February 28 2024 19 Adar I 5784