Shabbat Greetings from Cantor Margot Goldberg – August 3

Shabbat Shalom!  This week’s Torah portion, Va-et’chanan, includes a repetition of the 10 commandments.  The first time we hear the 10 commandments, we are encamped at the base of Mount Sinai, a free people for the first time. Tired, hungry, thirsty and scared we hear God’s voice say:

  1. I am the Lord Your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
  2. You shall have no other gods beside Me.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother,
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

We move from our relationship with God, to our relationship with ourselves, to our relationship with the world.

This week, our Torah portion finds us encamped on the shore of the Jordan preparing to finally enter the land.  Unlike the generation that stood at Sinai, this generation is young, excited and can’t wait to conquer the Promised Land and fulfill God’s promise.  Here the 10 commandments come from Moses, who recites them verbatim, except for the fourth commandment which now becomes Guard the Sabbath, to keep it holy.

What does it mean to remember?  To remember seems to be in the past.  Is God suggesting that they don’t have to keep the Sabbath now that they are free but they have to remember what it was like?  Is God suggesting that now more than ever, as they wander through the desert, that if they are not careful it will be difficult to remember to observe Shabbat at all?

What does it mean to guard?  Who are we guarding it from?  Who are we guarding it for?

What is the difference between remember and guard?

To remember/guard the Sabbath is the commandment that moves us from our relationship with God to our relationship with ourselves.  What are you going to do this Shabbat to remember or guard the Sabbath?

Join us for Shabbat services at 7:00pm as we remember and guard as a community this most holy day of the week!


Author: Melissa