Va’etchanan

Va’etchanan

IS IT SAFE TO COME TO SHUL ON SHABBAT? We have been back at shul for a few weeks now, and it has been a pleasure to welcome all of you who have stepped through our doors, both for the weekday and Shabbat services. A number of you, though, are understandably still cautious, and rightly so. We can reassure you that we are taking all the necessary precautions, as required by Government advice, the United Synagogue, and our own, independent Safety Consultant, but it is up to you to decide how you are going to balance the risks you are...

Devarim

Devarim

LESSONS OF LISTENING It is often assumed that talking therapies are new, having developed from the work of Freud and others. In fact, “healing through words” is known in a number of ancient cultures, not least in our Jewish tradition. The Talmud (Yoma 75a) interprets the verse in the Book of Proverbs (12:25) “if one has a worry, let him relieve himself of it” to mean that one should tell it to another person because this is likely to bring him relief. The Sfat Emet notes that the same idea is expressed in this week’s parasha. Moses sets up a...

Mattot Massei

Mattot Massei

TRANSFORMATIONS One of England’s transformational personalities is choirmaster, Gareth Malone. Whether it is Military Wives or Hospital Staff or simply individuals stuck at home during lockdown, Gareth manages to draw song and harmony out of people, who never knew they had it. He releases a musical and emotional energy that breaks barriers and builds lives. If there are two Hebrew words that sum up what Gareth does, they are the title words of the two parashotwe read this Shabbat: Mattot and Masei. In the context of the sidra, the word, Mattot, means ‘tribes.’ But Matteh also means a stick or...