Shabbat and Candlelighting 
for Friday, July 29th, 2022 / 2 Av, 5782

 Light Shabbat candles at 7:12 p.m.

Dear Congregation Kehillah and Friends,

I hope that you have been enjoying your summer and that it has been restful and restorative, and hope that you enjoy these Shabbat candle lighting reminders and their messages, as well as the beauty that Shabbat itself brings. There is nothing quite like taking a moment from the hectic pace of life to catch our breath, to show appreciation for the many gifts that have been given us, to reconnect with our loved ones (whether they are far away or nearby), and to do our part to (literally) bring some more light into the world!
It's all about the journey...
This week's double Torah portion is Mattot-Masei, which means "journeys." The reading enumerates the 42 different stages in the journey of the newborn Jewish nation from the land of Egypt until its entry into the Land of Israel. The Baal Shem Tov (founder of Chasidism) taught that these 42 stages in our people's journey are mirrored in the life of every individual as we proceed from birth (our personal "exodus from Egypt") through "the Land of Life."
Here is a kavannah (a focused intention/meditation) which I hope will enhance your candle lighting experience this Shabbat:
Please be with me Adonai on my journey this week. Guide me and be my compass so that I might be an instrument of goodness and kindness and love, bringing light and blessing to Your world.

Thank you for being part of our collective journey in building this kehillah (community). May the path ahead lead to growth and be a source of inspiration, compassion, love and blessing.  

As this week’s double parasha brings us to the end of Bamidbar/The Book of Numbers, as with the conclusion of each book of Torah, we say” Chazak, chazak v’nitchazek – Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen one another!
Read on to learn more about the Hebrew month of Av that begins this Friday night….
Next Saturday night/Sunday (August 6th and 7th) mark the observance of Tisha B’Av…  
Av contains both the 'high point' and the 'low point' of the annual Jewish calendar with themes of destruction and renewal. The first days of the month leading up to the 9th day of Av (Tisha B'Av) are the 'low': in different years (but this same date in Jewish history), both the First Temple (built by King Solomon, destroyed by the Babylonians) and the Second Temple (built by the Jews returning from Babylonia, completed by Herod, destroyed by the Romans) were lost to us and our people were sent into exile. It is an emotional day of mourning established by second-century rabbis, observed with a full fast and the reading of the Book of Lamentations. Additional tragedies on this date in history include the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 and Ferdinand and Isabella's expulsion of our people from Spain in 1492. A tradition has it that the messiah will be born on this day (August 6th is my birthday – in the year I was born, I luckily just missed it by a few hours). Some feel that, since the creation of the State of Israel, it is no longer necessary to observe Tisha B'Av in this way. 

Because the 9th of Av falls on Shabbat this year, a calendar adjustment by rabbis from long ago institute that the observance of the fast day of Tisha B’Av be moved to one day later (Yom Kippur is the only ‘shabbat’- no matter on which day of the week it falls – on which we fast).
The mood shifts dramatically to one of hope on the Shabbat that follows, known as Shabbat Nachamu, the Sabbath of Comfort and Consolation (from the Haftarah from the Prophet Isaiah that begins "Be comforted, My people"). In the shtetls of Europe, it was a popular time for weddings! The high point is the 15th day of Av, Tu B'Av, known as "Jewish love day"! Why did we ever lose that practice??? The Mishna teaches that it was one of the happiest of days when many would meet their beshert (their 'intended' soul mate) as the daughters of Israel went out in the fields, followed by potential suitors. This year, Tu B'Av comes on Thursday night the 11th and Friday the 12th - what a good day to rekindle sparks with a loved one (or close friends...). It's all good, or can be, if we make it so.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman
Congregation Kehillah
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