This Shabbat congregations around the world will complete reading the book of B’Midbar (Numbers). As the Torah reader chants the last verse we will stand and declare: “Hazak, Hazak V’nithazek – Be Strong, Be Strong, and Let Us Strengthen Each Other.”
Our Sages question why the first word is repeated twice, as there are no extraneous words in the Torah. One commentary suggests that the first “Be Strong” is meant for each of us individually, and the second is referring to us as a whole community.
When thinking about my first Shabbat serving as rabbi at CST, I am full of hopes and dreams for me and for us. And, as our people declare: Hazak, Hazak V’nithazek, I invite us to hear“Be Strong” as an opportunity for individual reflection on how we grow our capacity to show up. Let us bring thoughtfulness and intention to how we show up in our relationships, in our work, in our neighborhoods, in our commitment to education and life-long learning, in our commitment to working to grow our souls and humanity, and so much more. We are called to be God’s partners and reflect goodness and Godliness through how we walk in the world. And let us hear the second “Be Strong” as a call to action that we be strong, energetic, creative, and tireless in working to build and maintain a community built on kindness, tradition, and inclusion. It is through our fulfillment of these commitments that we ultimately “Strengthen Each Other.”
I am excited and honored to share Jewish life with our Shaarie Torah family. I look forward to getting to know you in the days and weeks to come. I am heartened to know that as we journey together, we will show up for one another to bring each other strength.
Shabbat Shalom – May this be a Shabbat of wholeness and peace.
Rabbi Gary Oren