September 8, 2023 /23 Elul 5783

 Light Shabbat candles at 6:26 p.m.
Dear Congregation Kehillah and Friends,

A double parasha this week. Please choose whichever kavannah resonates...
Parashat Nitzavim opens with the theme of the unity of the Jewish people:  
"You stand today, all of you, before Adonai your G-d..." and culminates with this motivational statement "For the mitzvah which I command you this day, it is not beyond you nor is it remote from you. It is not in heaven... It is not across the sea.... Rather, it is very close to you, in your mouth, in your heart, that you may do it", and into the exhortation that we choose life: "I have set before you life and goodness, and death and evil; in that I command you this day to love God, walk in God's ways and keep God's commandments... Life and death I have set before you, blessing and curse. Choose life." So central to Jewish life, practice and belief are these statements that we also read Parashat Nitzavim on our holiest day, Yom Kippur.
A kavannah for candle lighting for Shabbat Nitzavim:

Holy One, as I prepare to light candles welcoming Your Shabbat in these days immediately preceding the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe = Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the days in between), please help me tap into the wisdom, courage and strength I possess so that I may live by Your teachings and recognize that I am not alone. I am part of and supported by the larger community (kehillah). And please help me to remember always before Whom we all stand.
And, the second parashaVayelech (meaning And he went...), takes place on the last day of Moses' life, as he turns over leadership to Joshua, and completes the writing of a Torah scroll which he then entrusted to the Levites for safe-keeping in the Ark. Moses lived to be 120 years old, strong mentally and physically, which is the source of the blessing offered at significant birthdays, "may you live to 120..."

Also in Vayelech, there is a description of a ceremony called Hakhel, which is a commanded gathering of the people to reconnect to the mission and values that we sometimes forget.

Hakhel – the kehillah gathers. Your attendance and participation in our High Holy Days is important to the sustainability of Jewish life! Services are meaningful and inspirational…and my sermons are not too long! Please prioritize being together. Your choices matter to us all.
A kavannah for candle lighting for Shabbat Vayelech:

Holy One, may my candlelighting this Shabbat inspire me to 'go'/reach out, as did Moses, to those I love and 'return' to my true self, the self without the layers, the self that returns, in love, to You.
We look forward to seeing those who plan to attend Selichot in person this Saturday, September 9 beginning at 6:45 p.m. For those joining us for the Selichot service via Zoom we will see you online around 8:10 p.m. Please refer to the email send yesterday for the Zoom link.

We understand that people’s plans and schedules change. With this in mind, we would appreciate if you could please confirm your seat request for the High Holy Days with Renee. Thank you in advance.

Shabbat Shalom and blessings for sweetness, health, connection and shalom in 5784.
With love,

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman

Congregation Kehillah
Mailing Address: 21001 N.Tatum Blvd., Ste 1630, #439, Phoenix AZ 85050 
Physical Address: 5858 E. Dynamite Blvd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331
(Please note that no mail is received at this address.)
Copyright © 2023. All Rights Reserved