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Hot off the Press! Shabbat Shirah, 5784

01/23/2024 01:55:06 PM

Jan23

Rabbi Rudin

Counting Birds

Note: This Shabbat, Shabbat Shirah, the Shabbat of Song has a tradition to feed birds.   We devote one Shabbat a year to focusing on songs to G-d: birds sing to G-d constantly!  In gratitude to our winged friends, we scatter crumbs and seeds for them, especially in the winter.  Also, please take part in the worldwide bird count which runs from February 16-19, collecting important data on bird populations and taking the pulse on our precious environment.

Our state bird: the ever-effervescent Goldfinch

 

Tu Bishvat, 5784

A Nice Etrog?

 

In loving memory of my sweet companion and guardian of fifteen years, Matzah, and to the Torah teaching that those we love and who love us have a place with us in eternity-

Matzah Brei Rudin z’’l, 2008-2023

 

We always say that while the snows fly and the arctic blasts roar here at home, springtime has already begun in Israel.

 

That’s not actually quite true. The ancient Rabbis didn’t time the tithing date for trees to coincide with Spring- that’s not until Nisan.  Instead, they observed that Tu Bishvat marks when Rov HaGeshamim, the majority of the rains, have fallen.  Rain may be nurturance, but winter’s apparent lifelessness still rules, even in sub-tropical Israel.

 

There’s a custom on Tu Bishvat to say a special prayer for a beautiful Etrog next Sukkot.  Etrogim grow all over the world.  Who knows where we’ll find the right Etrog? In other words, when we pray on Tu Bishvat, we say a prayer for the fertility and fruitfulness of the entire planet.

 

But prayer is only intention, not action.  The Jewish attitude to prayer has always been: do what you can do and pray for what you can’t do. 

 

We can help bring life to lifelessness.  We can bring light to darkness, hope to despair.  We can help wrest life from death.  The name of that super power is Chesed- love in action.  Our Torah is constantly giving us ways of how to do that: Six hundred and thirteen ways in fact, the number of Mitzot.  

 

Tu Bishvat is this Thursday: buy yourself and your family an unusual, unique fruit that you haven’t eaten this season and enjoy it.  Say the prayer for fruit and the Shehechyanu: and reflect on what we can do right here and in our lives, our tzedaka giving, our actions to ensure that there are beautiful Etrogim come harvest time all over the world.  Shabbat Shalom, Happy Shabbat Shira and Happy Tu Bishvat!

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam borei p’ri ha’eitz.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.

 

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higiyanu laz'man hazeh.

Blessed are You Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this day.

Thu, February 22 2024 13 Adar I 5784