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Congregation Beth Shalom

Jewish Community in Bozeman, Montana

Rabbi's Weekly Message

Feeling the Awe

Parshat: Yitro

Dear friends,

What a great celebration of Tu B’Shvat we had this week, both with the short hike and the Torah study on Saturday morning, both of which enhanced our understanding of the age old profound relationship Judaism has had with trees. There’s no service this Shabbat, but we will meet for Torah study as usual on Saturday morning, February 3, at 9:30 am, for conversation, bagels, and coffee.

Also this week, winter adult ed class begins this Thursday, February 1, at 6:00 pm, and will continue for five Thursdays. The topic will be the extremely topical one about Jewish teachings on civil dialogue.

One week hence, on Wednesday, February 7 at Noon, there will be a special Interfaith Panel, featuring young people from 6 religious traditions speaking on what their religion means to them. Steve Harris-Weiel will be representing Judaism.

And mark your calendar for a special Shabbat service on Friday, February 9, at 6:00 p.m., when Amber returns for a  Bozeman visit and will be back on the bima with me.

This week’s Torah portion is Yitro, best known because it contains the account of the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. The parsha is rich in imagery of what it felt like to me among the 600,000+ who trembled as G!d spoke with thunderbolts. If it were to happen today, I wonder whether it might appear to many as just a bad thunderstorm? Are we able to open our minds and hearts to the possibility of that sort of awe of G!d in our lives. Or have we become so numb that we can’t feel it any more?

That sort of awe is never as obvious today, but it is available to us through the practices and learning our tradition offers. It requires, however, that we open our hearts to the possibility of receiving it. May we all taste awe this week as we read Parsha Yitro.

Blessings,

Rabbi Ed

Rabbi Ed