Shabbat Greetings from Stuart Skolnick – May 10, 2013

Stuart SkolnickLast Shabbat we completed the reading of the Book of Leviticus. As we complete each book of the Torah, the congregation rises and calls out “Chazak, Chazak, v’Nitchazzek“. We congratulate each other by exclaiming “Be strong, be strong, and let us summon up our strength!” The original phrase comes from the Book of 2 Samuel and only had a single Chazak but has evolved over time to the current usage.  We are glad to have reached the end of the book and are actually speaking to the Torah reader for his or her strength in learning the reading, to the person honored with the aliyah to the Torah, and to each other for having reached this time.  It is our custom to read the Torah only in the presence of a minyan, the required group of 10 people of bar mitzvah age or older. This is one of many practices that require a minyan and we all draw strength from each other’s presence. I think that’s a microcosm of a Temple community. Each person plays their individual part – Torah reader, honoree, congregation, as above – but together we are more than the sum of our parts. We can see this dynamic repeated again and again throughout Temple Beth Abraham. We come together to support those in our community who have suffered a loss and a shivah minyan is another place where at least 10 are required. Tonight we’ll have many more than a minyan for our Chai Plus Shabbat honoring those who have been members for at least 18 years. The number of members in that category are a tribute to the continuity of our community. We have seen this with the number of people who support, for example, various Tikkun Olam programs and we’ll see it again on Shavuot when 17 of our young people will be confirmed. So let’s all congratulate ourselves on being proud members of TBA and think about ways to strengthen and sustain ourselves for many years to come.

Shabbat shalom and (a bit early) Chag Shavuot Sameach!

Author: Melissa