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What is the takeaway?

02/01/2024 04:14:04 PM


Rabbi Micah Peltz

On my wall in my office is a cartoon that shows Moses holding up the 10 Commandments in front of all the people.  One person has his hand raised and asks, “What’s the takeaway on all this?”  Today we are quick to try and boil presentations and teachings down to their essential lessons.  That might be good for getting information, but is that how we really learn?  How we acquire knowledge?  This takes more time and engagement, not only with our minds, but also with all of our senses.  This is an often less appreciated aspect of the revelation on Mount Sinai, which we read about this week in Parashat Yitro.  The Torah is not just handed to Moses, who then reads it to the people.  Rather it is multi-sensory experience.  As the Torah reports:  “Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke…and the whole mountain trembled violently.  The blare of the shofar grew louder and louder.  As Moses spoke, God answered him in thunder.”  When Torah was given, the people saw and smelled smoke, felt the trembling of the mountain, and heard the resonant call of the shofar.  This teaches us that seeking God is something that we can do through each of our senses.  Prayer is not simply reading words from a book or knowing the right tunes to sing.  It is an opportunity to open ourselves up to a deeper connection with God and each other.  This weekend, we are excited to welcome our artist-in-residence Eliana Light.  Eliana is a talented educator and musician who will be leading a soulful and uplifting Healing Service with Rabbi Wexler at 7pm tonight.  Over Shabbat she will guide us through inspiring Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning services, both in the sanctuary and with Shir HaLev.  You can see the full schedule for the weekend below.  We are grateful to the Morrow Foundation for generously sponsoring Eliana’s visit.  We hope that you will come to learn with us and Eliana over the course of the weekend, and together we can recreate the multi-sensory experience of connecting to God that we’ll read about from the Torah on Shabbat morning.


Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784