“Every valley will be raised, and every mountain and hill will be lowered; the

crooked will become straight and the heights will become valley. The glory of

God will be revealed.”

— From Nachamu, Isaiah’s prophecy of comfort

Join Rabbi David Fainsilber via Zoom as he leads a rousing, in-person Shabbat service on Friday, July 23, in Waitsfield, with the Mad River Valley Jewish Community. Register for the Zoom link by visiting jcogs.org.

This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Nachamu, named for the prophetic reading from Isaiah, (40:1-26). It is the first of seven that gently usher us to Rosh Hashanah. It appropriately follows Tisha b’Av. Despite the deep sadness we felt as we read the Book of Lamentations and fasted; we emerge with strength and courage, coupled with joy and happiness. Judaism bestows that balance.

Our Torah portion for this coming Shabbat is Va-et’chanan, (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11). Of all the prayers in Judaism, the Shema affirms and declares: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” These words appear in this week’s Torah portion. This powerful prayer addresses us. It is important for us to hear it. And to speak the words aloud.

We are taught that our biblical heroes possessed human strength and weakness. The greatness of a leader like Moses, is not found in perfection.

It lies in the power of his strengths, despite his weaknesses. Moses often referred to as our greatest leader, was given what might have been God’s harshest sentence — after pleading with God to allow him to enter the land of Israel — his request was denied. Much awaits us, as Deuteronomy unfolds.

Don’t miss out on upcoming programming and events. Visit jcogs.org.

— Patti C. Rubin

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