Today is February 26, 2021 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Parshat Ki Tetze

Dear WJC Family,

Believe it or not, this is the last Shabbat of this summer. Therefore I want to take a moment to express my extraordinary gratitude to one of the most amazing volunteers I have had the privilege to work with—Cindy Heller. Among her many remarkable efforts on behalf of our congregation—like the Bikkur Holim committee and calling seniors during the pandemic— Cindy takes on the responsibility of assigning parts to congregants for the summer when lay-people lead all the parts of the service. Well, this summer she got more than she bargained for because everything is more difficult and time-consuming in the time of Covid-19.

Cindy didn’t miss a beat, arranging the speakers to video their parts, managing the lists of those registering for each service and sending everyone attending in-person the information with our current safety and health protocols along with all the usual parts she gives out. So, I want to express my gratitude, along with that of the rest of our clergy and this congregation for a job excellently done. Thank you for joining us in the mitzvah of making services possible again!

This week we will be reading Parshat Ki Tetze, which includes the miztvot around returning lost items (Deuteronomy 22:1-3). Returning lost items is a mitzvah directly from the Torah. It’s a pretty innovative idea. As opposed to our culture that leans towards not getting involved in other people’s business (i.e. if you saw a donkey walking down the road you would probably leave it be), the Torah insists that we do go out of our way to investigate and help if we are able. The Torah does not tolerate indifference. We get involved.

As fate would have it, this week I received an email from a member of WJC that gives us all an opportunity to fulfill this mitzvah. It seems that last Yom Kippur, this person left his tallis on the rack outside the bathroom, and when he got out, he grabbed the one that was here, but then when folding it up he noticed it wasn’t his. So, if you were in shul last Yom Kippur and you used the Men’s Room, here’s what the Torah demands of you. Go check your tallis—is it yours? If not, this person is eager to trade back! Here are some identifying details of this person’s tallis (a key to claiming lost objects):

  1. It measures 70 cm x 170 cm.
  2. The company is written in Hebrew, not English, and is called Talit Nia (noon, yud, hey). So the name of the company should probably have a label.
  3. It had the prayer for putting on the talit embroidered in Hebrew at the area that is placed on the neck. The one that was left did not have the prayer. 

If you have seen this tallis, let me know. It’s a Torah mitzvah!

We are looking forward to a pleasant Shabbat. Kabbalat Shabbat services will be at 6:00pm on Zoom – see the link here. Rabbi Dalton will be delivering the weekly drasha and I will be doing the davening. We are all looking forward to Cantor Ethan returning from his family leave next week and are glad to hear that little Akiva (and Hadar) are doing great.

We will be in our new Saturday morning routine tomorrow. I will begin davening in the sanctuary on the stream at 9:00am and we will pick up with a minyan at 10:00am at the Torah service, starting with the Psalm of the Day and a Mourner’s Kaddish. I will be giving the commentary between Torah portions.

Havdalah will be at 8:20pm on Saturday evening and I will be teaching a little kavanah for the week ahead.

Please pay close attention to the September Review you will receive in a couple of days. It includes an extensive catalog of opportunities we have planned and prepared leading up to and including the High Holidays. This is information you will want to have, so open it right away. Also, earlier this week you received information about the Kol Nidre Appeal, which by necessity is being done differently this year (like everything else). Please check out that message and if you have any questions, I am happy to speak with you about this year’s Appeal, or quite frankly, about anything else related to this year’s unique holiday plans.

One last thought—I thought you would all like to hear a little good news. There are a number of babies and grandbabies being born to the congregation, so mazal tov to all, but I thought you would particularly like to hear that Rav Jef and Marla Segelman became grandparents for the thirteenth time last week! The bris was yesterday and so we say Mazal Tov to Uri and Yael and welcome Aryeh Yeshaya Segelman to the world!

See you in shul or online,

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