|Rabbi David Wilfond’s Message – Friday, August 4th , 2023. |
Tonight, come taste the Fruit of the Vine
This past week we witnessed the beauty of the full moon of August. In Israel this is Jewish Valentine’s Day and is called Tu b’Av. This holiday celebrates romantic love and wine. It is the most popular time to get married in the Land of Israel.
My wife, Deborah, and I met in Israel. This past week we celebrated our 13th anniversary. We were married in Jerusalem at sunset on a hill overlooking the golden walls of the Jerusalem. Since then our married life has been a roller coaster of countries. We have created homes in England, Israel and now America. Our first child was born in London, and then two were born in Jerusalem. Our children have struggled to learn new languages, cultures and friendships.
The journey of life often leads from home to homelessness and then to a new home. There is a Talmudic teaching that home is not a structure of bricks and mortar, rather a true home is where you experience kindness (hesed) and inclusion (hachnasat orchim). A home is not created by walls, but an open heart.
During Covid, many people took refuge in their homes and walled off the outside world. Ask yourself, “To to what extent, today, is my home, and my heart, open as a holy sanctuary of welcoming?”
At our Friday Shabbat services at the Temple, we have been welcoming each other, not only at the end of the service, but also at the beginning. Each week there are new faces at the Temple. People enter not knowing a soul, and may sit alone because they have come by themselves. To be a mensch (a good sould), is to not let someone sit in solitude simply because they have arrived solo. I ask you to please reach out and welcome someone you don’t know at the beginning of the service. The new comer may experience the service in a warmer and more loving way if they are greeted with a smile and an extended hand upon arrival, and not just at departure, after the service is concluded.
I know some people run off after the service. May I kindly ask you linger for a few moments to great new comers so they can meet you, the members of our community. We want new comers to feel welcomed and invited to become engaged in the life of our congregation.
Tonight, following the service there is an extra reason to linger. We will have wine tasting. In Israel,
Tu b’Av is the National Wine Festival, as this time begins the grape harvest. This week, virtually every Israel winery opens their doors and welcomes guests for tasting it’s “Fruit of the vine.” In this spirit, let us welcome you tonight for a taste of wine. I will bring of a bottle of Israeli Wine from the Golan Heights. If you have a favorite Israeli wine, you are invited to bring along a bottle to the service, so we can celebrate Tu b’Av together as a community.
Wishing you “L’Chaim – To Life!”
May it be a Good Shabbes,
Rabbi David Wilfond