Annual High Holy Day Food Drive.August 16, 2023
A Message from Rabbi Greenberg, August 25th, 2023August 23, 2023
Cantor’s message for the Temple Newsletter for August 18th, 2023
How happy I feel to be able to share with you the commentary of this week’s Parsha!
Well, it turns out that today is one of my favorite Shabbatot of the year.
One of the things I like best about Judaism is that we take nothing for granted. We don’t exist just because. Every little thing in this world has a recognition for being what it is! There is a blessing for each moment, entity and object.
We do it this way because it’s fair.
It seems that I speak of justice as something banal, but really… How many times do we stop to celebrate the things we take for granted? If we are not grateful, that leads us to the devaluation of life. The fair thing to do is to value and appreciate all divine creations.
That is why today, on the day of Rosh Chodesh Elul (the first day of the last month of the year!) we celebrate those beings that fill the souls of many of us every day… our pets!
Today we celebrate the not so well known holiday of “Rosh Hashanah LaBehemoth”. It is one of the four New Year’s day festivals (Rosh Hashanot) in the Jewish calendar as indicated in the Mishnah.
During the time of the Temple, this was a day on which shepherds determined which of their mature animals were to be tithed. For our ancestors, this day had an incredible importance for survival reasons.
Nowadays, we could translate this with the mitzvah of “bal tashchit” (“do not destroy”), that dissuades us from destroying or killing needlessly and in a wasteful manner. Not only might this apply to hunting for sport, but also to avoid the overproduction of meat and animal/vegetable products that lead to food waste.
Well, a living being gave his life so that you can feed yourself!
All laws that do justice to animals and nature in general are welcome on this day. That is why this week’s Parsha prays “tzedek tzedek tirdof” “justice justice you will pursue”. Justice x2: because it is a matter of saying and doing, of being fair in an integral way and not selectively.
Today there is a new moon. May these reflections be a good excuse to begin this renewal cycle with more chesed, kindness.
Those who have pets, let’s celebrate them with delicious treats! Those who do not have pets, let’s celebrate this wonderful world that gives us so much!
Chodesh tov, happy Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot, and Shabbat shalom!