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The Rabbi's Desk

06/07/2019 04:30:49 PM


Inside: (see below)
•  Yizkor Derasha Topic
•  My Derasha from Last Week
•  Thought on Ruth from Book Launch Event

•  Sermons from the '40s in Honor of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day
•  A Niggun for Shavuot

The Topic for my Derasha before Yizkor 
on 2nd Day Shavuot (Monday) is

Megilat Naomi:
A Story of Life and Death


My Derasha from Last Shabbat
Learning from the Six Day War


Thought on Ruth from Book Launch Event
We celebrated this week a Pre-Shavuot Book Launch featuring (our very own) Mayor Michael Wildes who launched a book he wrote on immigration Safe Haven in America: Battles to Open the Golden Door and Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern who launched a book he edited and contributed to, Gleanings: Reflections on Ruth.

As part of my introduction to the evening, I shared the following observation on Ruth.

Ruth declares her desire to convert and affiliate with the Jewish people in poetic fashion. Her well known series of metaphors border on redundancy.

כִּי אֶל אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ / For wherever you go, I will go

וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין / wherever you lodge, I will lodge

עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי וֵאלֹהַיִךְ אֱלֹהָי / your people shall be my people and your God my God

בַּאֲשֶׁר תָּמוּתִי אָמוּת / Where you die, I will die

וְשָׁם אֶקָּבֵר / and there I will be buried

What is Ruth conveying by these many different ways of expressing one desire? And why must she declare her affiliation not just in life but even unto death?

For me, it seems that Ruth intuits that she has been selected for a special destiny. And she further senses that the Jewish people are marked for special destiny. And so, in this powerful declaration, Ruth is weaving her own personal destiny into that of the Jewish people. With entire life, her entire being, she feels moved to join our people absolutely. Her very fate, her very destiny – till her death – is bound up with that of her new people.

In similar fashion, the book edited by our own Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern brought together many, diverse thinkers who were able to weave their won ideas into the tapestry of this Megilah. They were each able to take their unique perspective and ‘read it into’ the story of Ruth.


Sermons from the '40s in Honor
of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day

This past week was the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. I took this opportunity to look through old sermons from that era and selected three to share with you. I love reading sermons and seeing how Rabbis delivered messages addressing events going on in the world around them, studying the approaches they take and the sermonic tools they use to do so.

Soldiers in a New Democracy by Chaplain Rabbi Louis Engelberg 1943

The Old and New Invasion by Rabbi Nathan Taragin 1944

Victory in Europe by Chaplain Rabbi Louis Engelberg 1945


A Niggun for Shavuot
Growing up, we listened to a lot of Belzer Niggunim on tape on Erev Yom Tov and other times. Here is (somewhat) popular niggun that comes from the Yotzrot of Shavuot. Click here to learn what Yotzrot are.

Click here for an audio file of the niggun - there are several in the file and its the first one.




Mon, December 6 2021 2 Tevet 5782