| Clergy Corner

CLERGY CORNER: Let there be light

Posted on 18 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Some of the stories in the Torah seem like what we would hear about on the TV news; stories about families not getting along, threats and killings, stories about lies, deceit and rape. The stories are about wrestling, not only with others, but with ourselves.

I often ask people who are low in spirits and feel stuck in darkness some questions. One is what they do in the morning and often their answer is they turn on the news.

And when I ask the same people what they do before going to sleep, they tell me that they get into bed and turn on the news. There goes any hope of having sweet dreams.

Many get so upset over the newscasts that they wrestle with themselves and with the covers on their bed all night long. And then they can’t figure out why they feel so miserable in the morning.

We are surrounded by bad news and it often seems that we are surrounded by bad people as well.

Have you ever watched someone who is behaving wickedly? If you have, you might have noticed an odd thing. You see, the first time someone commits a particular sin, you can actually tell from their facial expression and body language that they are wrestling with themselves as to whether they can actually do such a thing. But as they keep committing the same wickedness over and over they can become immune to that inner struggle, that self wrestling match.

We have people who thrive on stirring up trouble. They may try to tell themselves that they are doing it for a holy purpose, but they soon become victims of their own point of view and refuse to accept any other version of events. They stir the pot and others are grossly affected.

Take the case of the recent killing in Ferguson.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know who was in error, but I do know that the pot was stirred to the point that, if anything but the verdict that the mob wanted was given, well, the threats were already there.

And, as could have been predicted, there were those who took it as an excuse for looting, for hate and destruction.

And those who sat glued to the news went into the usual diatribe that things have never been this bad, that the world as we know it is falling apart.

But if you watched the news really closely, you might have caught a moment where the darkness was overcome by a very bright light.

A police officer noticed a young boy crying and motioned for the lad to come to him. Can you imagine how scared that young boy must have been being called over to a white police officer.

He was shaking a little but the officer calmed him.

Why are you crying?” the officer asked.

The boy replied that he was sad about the protest and sad about all that was going on in the world…

The officer and the 12-year-old went on to talk about school and summer vacations. Having comforted the boy, the officer looked down on the ground and saw the sign the lad had been carrying (“Free hugs”) and asked if he could have one … and there it was for all to see on the news.

That little boy and that officer are wondrous examples of how things can be. I would reward 12-year-old Devonte and Sgt. Barnum with kindling the first two candles on the Chanukiah (The Chanukah Menorah) as they are great examples of adding light to take away the darkness.

And I would give them a coupon book good for unlimited hugs whenever and wherever they should need them.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

And while you’re at it, why not stop by Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Trail, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442) on a Saturday Morning for services and a free hug! And believe me, you haven’t had a hug until you have been hugged by Rabbi Ezring. LOL.

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CLERGY CORNER: Give & receive

Posted on 11 December 2014 by L.Moore

It is that time of the year when we give gifts to others. It is the time of year when we do not think about ourselves but others and what they want or need. God knew in His infinite wisdom that we would need help with our lives. Not only do I find that I need God’s help, I have also come to realize that I need His help every day of my life. God does not always give me what I want, but He always gives me what I need.

ROMANS 12:6-8

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.

8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

NLT

Our goal in serving God is to be able to continue to serve Him throughout our whole lives. Growing up in church I always heard the phrase “stay full of the things of God.” It took me a long time to understand what that actually meant. When my car runs, it uses gas and I have to fill it up when it gets empty, so it will continue to run and I can use it. So, when I give out things that God has blessed me with in life, I need to find spiritual things in my life so I can fi ll back up the same way I fill my car with gas. The more love, compassion, peace and hope we give out then, the more we need to stay full of the things of God. We can read the Bible, pray, go to church or even sing hymns and worship songs to fill back up. What a great cycle in our lives to have. We can continually give and receive.

When you get a gift, either you like it and use it or you do not like it and hide it somewhere. Gifts from the Father are to be used and not wasted or just put on the shelf. Gifts from God come as He wills (any gift at any time) for the profit of all. You should not only welcome the gifts from God, but also expect them in your life. We all know it is better to give that to receive. However, if we do not receive, then we have nothing to give. We have a responsibility to stir the spiritual gifts in our own lives. God has blessed our lives with many different gifts and there are many people that can use them. You have the gifts; you might as well use them instead of letting them go to waste. The good thing is that no one person has all the gifts. It takes many different parts to make one complete body and that is true for the church body as well. Gifts do not clash or compete, but they all work together to serve the same goal or purpose. Giving gifts is not about serving your agenda and making you happy; it is about serving others and bringing joy to others.

Tony Guadagnino is the pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church, located at 801 SE 10 St, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.

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CLERGY CORNER: Greatest gift

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

Many people had family come in from out of town to be with their loved ones during Thanksgiving. Many invited friends over to join in. And those friends came bearing gifts.

Giving gifts can be a marvelous expression of love. In the Torah, we read that when Jacob first saw the love of his life, he wept. The Sages ask, “Why did Jacob weep?” Some say he wept in joy. But that’s just one of many answers.

Rashi gives several reasons that are all indeed possibilities. But there is one particular one he gives that stuck out during this time where everybody is busy looking for gifts. You see, one of Rashi’s explanations is that Jacob cried because he had no gifts to give her. He had been robbed and, at that moment, he had nothing.

I thought about that a lot and I wondered what I would say to someone who came to me crying that he or she had no gifts to give, and my response would have been, “But you do have a gift you can give, you can give of yourself. You can give your love and devotion. You can sing or make someone laugh. You can hold a hand and give a hug. You can give of your time, of yourself, and that just might be the greatest gift of all.

What good is giving a bunch of flowers on the holiday if your usual behavior throughout the year does not show your love? I watched during Thanksgiving as various friends and family members came to express their love in the health centers and I caught some very odd behavior in a few cases. I saw one longtime friend come to visit a patient and she brought her a giant box of chocolates. The only problem was that the patient was a severe diabetic, which made that chocolate a very unloving gift. Another patient had a relative who brought them two bottles of wine, but, guess what? That’s right; the patient was a recovering alcoholic.

There is a tale in the folklore of our people about a man who comes to his Rabbi in the middle of a crowded place and goes on and on about how much he loved the Rabbi, about how wonderful the Rabbi is, and about how he adores him. The Rabbi responds, “You don’t love me. If you did then you would know how much I dislike such displays.”

Speaking of gift giving, you probably missed a special day that happened on the 2nd of December. It is known as “Giving Tuesday” It is a day to think about donating your time and your money to those in need.

Our bellies are filled from Thanksgiving and will soon be filled with latkes and jelly donuts for Chanukah, but there are so many who hunger and thirst for food, for health, for love. Let us show our thanks to G-d by being there for those who are more in need of gifts than we have ever been.

I should tell you that I am not a fan of Thanksgiving. I am not a fan of Mother’s Day either. I think the idea of acknowledging your mother should be a daily event and I feel the very same in regard to giving thanks.

What do you have to give? Give of yourself. Give “With all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.”

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. Join us for worship on Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and give us the gift of your presence.

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CLERGY CORNER: An attitude of gratitude

Posted on 27 November 2014 by L.Moore

This is the time of year traditionally given to the consideration of the family, friends, experiences and accomplishments that we are grateful for in our lives. We pause purposefully and intentionally on the fourth Thursday of November to give thanks. But have you noticed how easy it has become to rush through the year and, indeed, all of life full of expectations and even demands? The result is that we may become so selfish and narcissistic as to never display or verbalize any gratitude. The entitlement mindset has descended upon society in such a way that everything is a right, few things are regarded as privileges, and no one wants to take any responsibility.

If you are of the mind to disagree, allow me to suggest that you observe the behavior of motorists on the road the next time you are driving around. How many red light runners can you spot casually breaking the law? Does anyone yield the right of way when they are entering the highway or do they expect you to slow down? If you’re doing the speed limit, are the motorists passing you giving you mean looks or honking their horns? Don’t you think the person behind you is a little too close for comfort? Heaven forbid the light should turn yellow and they are two feet from your rear bumper.

I believe that we all should cultivate an attitude of gratitude that permeates our lives throughout the year. The ability to drive in this country is a privilege, not a right, and we are expected to drive responsibly and to be mindful of others on the road. I love road trips that enable me to see the beauty of Florida. You can enjoy views of the ocean, city skyscrapers from a distance, wide spaces of farm country, small town communities, and large urban areas. Have you noticed the differences between the palm trees of Miami and Jacksonville? I’m grateful to be able to see and appreciate all of this and more.

We all have a laundry list of things that we could complain about but why not list the things we are grateful for? There’s an old hymn of the church that encourages: Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. The apostle Paul commands believers in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in everything. It’s a remarkable approach and a beneficial practice. Somehow, the good always seems to outweigh the bad, and the reality is that there is someone who would gladly trade their situation for yours.

You may not have everything you desire to have, but isn’t it true that you have a lot right now? Maybe you haven’t achieved your dreams and objectives, but aren’t you still able to do something about it? So you’ve had setback and failure, but aren’t you still around to try again? You’ve lost a close friend or family member, but aren’t you glad for the precious memories that linger? Let’s make it a daily habit to be grateful and perhaps we can enjoy life more. Let the people you love and appreciate know how grateful you are for their presence in your life. That might inspire them to be grateful, in turn, to others.

Don’t forget to give thanks to God for His mercies and blessings upon your life. And take the time to appreciate the beauty around you. Why the rush? Stop and smell the roses sometime. You don’t have to be a grouch, you can be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954- 427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Thanksgiving

Posted on 20 November 2014 by L.Moore

Thanksgiving is soon upon us and, once again, our children will hear a beautiful version of the first Thanksgiving. They will hear about Native Americans and pilgrims feasting together on corn, turkey and yams, oh, and let’s not forget cranberry sauce.

Many adults who have given up on the myth of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny still cling to the Thanksgiving story they learned as little ones.

I have the same problem with those who dropped out of Temple life after their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. They stopped learning about God and Torah, and, now, even in their upper years, they have a 13-year-old view of God and His word. The problem is that there is much more to these biblical stories. And, there is much more to the Thanksgiving story.

Let me share just a few things with you about Native Americans. Did any of you move down here from Canarsie? Well guess what, it was named after the Canarsee Indians. And for those of you who spent time in Rockaway; guess what, it was named after the Rechaweygh (pronounced – Rockaway) Indians.

Many of the tribes were quite content before the pilgrims came. One tribe lived in one area and another tribe in another area. And, while they lived on the land, they considered it owned by a higher power. They were respectful enough of each other not to move too close. But if another group needed to use some of the land for awhile, or they needed some food or some water… no problem. You see, the Native Americans didn’t fence themselves in, nor did they fence others out. But then the pilgrims came, pilgrims who had this concept of land ownership.

Now, let me focus on the feast of Thanksgiving. The family sitting around the table on Thanksgiving night often follows a tradition of having each one say something they are thankful for. So what, you might ask, were pilgrims thankful for?

The pilgrims there did not have it so easy. They had neglected to bring others with them from their homeland who had the skills that would be needed to survive. This was especially true in regard to food. To get food, you needed to be able to hunt. And not only were they lousy hunters, but, when they did get lucky enough to catch something, they weren’t exactly great in the butchering department either. In other words, they could not catch it, they could not kill it and they could not skin it.

And this is where the religious background came in handy. With so little food to eat they came up with days of fasting. Yes, they would pray on these days. They would pray for something to eat, as they were darn near starving.

The days on which they were permitted to eat became joyous days of thanks … hence, Thanksgiving Day. And their feast probably consisted of some bread and potatoes.

This Thanksgiving, I want you to take the time to research, to learn as an adult. What I’ve written today might not be totally accurate; but, I can tell you this, neither is the story we learned as children. Keep learning. Seek the truth and give thanks!

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. If you would like to be part of a small, haimishe, Conservative Congregation stop by and become a part of our family. (Services – Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. followed by a beautiful Kiddish and friendly conversation. Temple is located one block South of Hillsboro Blvd on Military Trail).

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CLERGY CORNER: Make lemonade

Posted on 13 November 2014 by L.Moore

Have you ever heard the expression, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” That is a great expression when you are the one telling someone else to make the lemonade. It becomes a little more difficult to be the one who actually has to make the lemonade.

Ephesians 4:32

32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

NLT

I believe that one of the keys to a fulfilling life is forgiveness. It is so easy to say “I forgive you,” but sometimes very difficult to actually mean it and actually live it. We must first forgive ourselves for things we have done in our lives. Then, we must forgive others for things they have done to us.

Colossians 3:13

13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

NLT

Forgiveness should be a way of life, not just something that we do in order to get through life. When we walk in un-forgiveness, we take our lives out of God’s hands and place our lives in someone else’s hands. We let our lives be determined by others and not what God wants for us. We are no longer able to do certain things, to go to certain places we want to go, or to even have the relationships we want to have or need.

To be truly free, we must choose to walk in forgiveness. It has to be a choice and it has to be a choice that only we can make for ourselves. I’m sure you have realized by now that you will have many opportunities to be offended by someone, and you will also have many opportunities to practice forgiveness. When the opportunity comes, just take it and forgive, and please stay away from excuses.

Here are a few excuses we have used: “But you don’t understand” – the truth is that we don’t understand what un-forgiveness costs us; “it’s not in my nature or personality to forgive” – we must simply choose to forgive and change our ways to avoid the self-made prison that un-forgiveness brings; “you don’t know what they did to me and how deeply they hurt me” – you are absolutely right, I don’t know. I do know that if you don’t forgive that person, you will put yourself in prison and you will hurt other people whom you love deeply as a result. You will also continue to bring more pain into your life because you have now hurt someone that you care about.

The greatest advantage of forgiveness is your freedom. Forgiveness sets you free, not the other person.

Forgiveness is a choice, and it’s up to you to do it or not do it. You can have the greatest benefit or the greatest devastation. It’s up to you to do it. So, please, when life gives you lemons, just make lemonade.

Tony Guadagnino is a pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church, located at 801 SE 10 St, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-428-8980, www.clfministries.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: The Differential Quotient

Posted on 06 November 2014 by L.Moore

Well, here we are in the midst of another election and once again my neighbor has busied himself sending out e-mails, as he would like everyone to vote for the party and candidates that he, in his infinite wisdom, feels are best for the job.

I don’t know about you, but when I apply for a position, I try and highlight my accomplishments. But I have to wonder, what if, instead of listing my accomplishments, I put down all the reasons why the candidates should not even be considered.

That’s what my neighbor is doing. Not one of his e-mails say anything positive about those he would like everyone to vote for, rather they all spout negatives about the candidates and political party that he is against; and he is rabidly against them.

I did some fact checking and there are a lot of things in those things he forwards that, simply stated, aren’t true. He even earmarks certain ones especially for me and for those who he thinks would have the same concerns that I do. So I get all the ones about how this one or that one is anti-Semitic, or not supportive of Israel. Now, he doesn’t just send one or two; no, I’m talking about multiple e-mails on a daily basis. I have nicely asked him (more than once) to please stop sending them to me, but it would appear each time I do so, it somehow encourages him to send even more.

I’m not quite sure why he thinks behaving in this manner would get me to agree with him. Hammering someone over and over again, well, to me that’s a form of bullying.

Oddly enough, while his goal is to get me to see the world his way, to agree with him, his methods are having just the opposite effect.

And what would happen if he got everyone to see things his way? I can tell you this, if every one of us voted for the same candidate, we would have no need to hold elections. We would have no need for a two-party system. All we would have to do is go to my neighbor and he would tell us who will be our governor, our senator, our congressman and our president.

He was spouting his beliefs at the pool the other day and, at one point, he said that anyone who voted for the other side “was a fool and must hate this country.” And that’s when someone listening said, “We just don’t speak the same language.”

Biblically, we talk about a time where everyone spoke the same language. And, in case you forgot, they began to build a tower, the Tower of Babel. And that’s how I felt about my neighbor’s talk because to me, he was just babbling on. God destroys the Tower of Babel and He purposely differentiated people by making it so they don’t all speak the same language. Do you think for a moment that God did this so that we should hate anyone who speaks a different tongue?

Or maybe, just maybe, He did it so that we could learn to respect one another even though we don’t speak the same language. And, if that’s the case, then maybe we could learn to respect each other despite our differences, our differences in country of origin, skin color, religion and, dare I say it, political leanings.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach where you can hear his uplifting messages during Shabbat Services (Saturdays – 9:30a.m.). The Temple is located one block South of Hillsboro on the west Side of Military Trail.

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CLERGY CORNER: Embracing Failure

Posted on 30 October 2014 by L.Moore

The word failure is full of negative connotations. It’s connected with so many other off-putting words – words like disappointment, inadequacy and inferiority. But, what if I told you that, when it comes to failure, you have been sold a bill of goods? That failure, when viewed from the right perspective, is actually a positive thing – a necessary element in all of your achievements? Would you believe it?

The truth is that failure is the primary building block of every success you’ve ever had. When you were learning to walk, you fell down countless times. Each time you got back up, you were sturdier. The first time you played baseball, you whiffed every ball, but, with practice, you began making contact. When you started driving, you didn’t whip right into your first parallel parking space, did you? You had to back up and try it again.

Life is a process of growing through the failures that shape your ability to succeed. The key is to have the right perspective. If you see failure as a dead end, it will destroy you. If you see it as a stepping-stone to greater things, it will be just that. As the famed American soccer player Kyle Rote, Jr. once said, “There is no doubt in my mind that there are many ways to be a winner, but there is really only one way to be a loser and that is to fail and not look beyond the failure.”

With every failure, you have a choice: you can either use it as an excuse to give up or you can let it grow you up. If you will choose to concentrate on growth, your failure can become a catalyst for moving you closer to the life God has in store. He will use the experience to get you ready for something greater in your future. To help you get there, take these four steps when failure strikes:

1.) Face the emotions associated with your failure. Don’t be surprised by the intense emotions that come along with a setback – and don’t ignore them. Acknowledge the feelings of fear, anger, blame or shame barraging you and make an effort to work through them. Get to the other side so you can focus on the future.

2.) Allow your failure to draw you closer to God. Failure doesn’t separate you from God. He is not disappointed in you and he’s not pointing an “I told you so” finger in your direction. Rather, God wants to use your failure to draw you deeper into his presence.

3.) Identify and learn from the source of your failure. If you don’t learn from your failure, you waste it. Your first step when you fail should be to identify the root of the problem. Once you figure out what caused the failure, glean whatever insight you can from that knowledge. What you learn can be an integral part of your growth.

4.) Find and obey God’s new plan for your life. When you give your failure to God, he will exchange it for a new plan. Rather than preventing you from reaching your potential, failure should be a building block to help you get there.

If you’ll consistently take these four steps, your failures will become the building blocks for the life you’re meant to have. One day, your story of perseverance may be the story that will inspire others to press through and build on failure in search of their own ultimate success.

Nelson Searcy is the lead pastor of The Journey Church in Boca Raton. The 3-year-old church meets at Boca Raton Community High School (I-95 and Glades Rd) each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. For more info., visit www.BocaJourney.com. He is the author of 11 books and served for 10 years as a pastor in New York City before moving to South Florida. Each person who visits The Journey Church this fall will receive a free copy of his latest book “Unshakable: Standing Strong When Things Go Wrong,” on which this article is based.

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CLERGY CORNER: Changing seasons

Posted on 23 October 2014 by L.Moore

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

King Solomon’s observation of life and human behavior resulted in numerous conclusions which are undeniably true. This particular truth relates to the fluid nature of the human experience. Nothing remains the same, everything changes and there is an appointed time or season when change will occur. In nature, we identify the progression of time through the changing of the seasons from Spring to Summer, from Summer to Fall and from Fall to Winter. Each comes with its own unique personality and characteristics (colorful flowers, hot sun, falling leaves, frigid temperatures).

Depending upon where one lives in this country, or on this planet, some seasons are more readily seen and experienced than others. South Florida tends to be a perpetual summer experience with a brief autumn respite (in my opinion).

An awareness of the coming change in a season enables us to prepare for it and adjust to its uniqueness. As we age, we also go through seasons of life with characteristics, expectations and responsibilities that are unique to each phase. The one constant, however, is that there will be change. Nothing lasts for too long, and each season fulfills some purpose.

The varying experiences that we face (challenge, struggle, satisfaction, success etc. …) also tend to be seasonal. We would love to park at the particularly pleasant and rewarding experiences of life and live the remainder of our days there, in peace and tranquility. The inevitability of change, though, indicates that we’d do well to be prepared when our situation undergoes a transition to something else. Though we may not appreciate change, especially when it involves moving from something good to something bad, Solomon’s wisdom indicates that each season serves a purpose.

If you are favored with good circumstances (a good season), celebrate your accomplishments and enjoy your life. Be mindful, however, that things may soon change. If you are in a bad situation (season), seek to understand what lessons it may offer for your future benefit, or for others who are around you. Know that it will not last forever, and that you may well come out the better for it. Sometimes the challenges and difficulties of life are necessary to release the hidden greatness, brilliance and potential that lies in all of us. Consider that the caterpillar must go through a period (season) of isolation, darkness and struggle before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly. And oysters must endure a season of agitation and discomfort in order to produce the costly pearl.

Whatever season you may find yourself in, make the most of it by adjusting to its demands and facing it with confidence. Thank God for bringing you to it, or trust Him knowing that He will see you through it. You have not arrived at it by accident. Though you may be incapable of controlling what happens to you, the power to manage your response is all yours. Be grateful to God for His blessing or His mercy in each circumstance. He has brought you to this for a season and for a purpose.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302. The church celebrated its 90th anniversary over Labor Day weekend. 1924-2014.

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CLERGY CORNER: A Sukkah of peace a year of joy

Posted on 16 October 2014 by L.Moore

By Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

I don’t know about you, but I love to people watch. In between the holidays, I had to take a trip to Whole Foods. Whole foods is all about things that are healthy for you and I love shopping there, but, I know people who will not keep kosher because they say it’s too expensive, and yet, I see them shopping at Whole Foods regularly, and in case you don’t know it, the foods there are not exactly cheap.

While there, three different people, not employees, just fellow shoppers, approached me to tell me why I shouldn’t buy this or that product that I had in my cart. One of the three was massively obese, another was so thin that I expect she was anorexic and the third ran through a litany of medical conditions that they suffer from. Yet, there they all were, telling me what I should and should not be eating in order to stay healthy.

I’ve been dealing with a bad back, but, even bent over, I looked more robust than all three of them combined.

It is so easy for us to look at someone else and decide what’s good for them. We are so sure of ourselves when deciding what’s right for someone else.

We are in the midst of the Festival of Sukkot where we build a Sukkah. Our sages teach us that Chupah rhymes with Sukkah. A Chupah is a wedding canopy. On Friday evenings, we chant prayer that tells us to greet the Sabbath bride. With this being Sukkot, I want to teach you something about this particular prayer.

You see, I run into a lot of people contemplating marriage. As I meet with them, especially during individual counsel, one partner may go over a series of reasons why they are concerned that the person they are thinking of getting married to may not be good enough for them. They are concerned that they might just be settling.

I worry about such fears. But imagine this — imagine if, instead of focusing on whether the person you’re with is good enough for you, what if you spend some time reversing the question. Maybe what you should be concerned about is … are you good enough for them?

After all, if you really love them, you don’t want them to just settle? You wouldn’t want that for yourself; so why on earth would you want that for them? There is an old saying among our people; when love is strong, a couple can sleep on the edge of the sword, but when love is soured even a bit of 60 miles does not give enough room.

I am a big fan of small Sukkot. If the family can eat together in peace, in a small flimsy hut in the backyard, if the family can invite guests to join them and break bread together in peace in that very same hut, there must be an awful lot of love there.

Each one there has to take the time to make sure that they are not infringing on another person’s space. Each person there must be careful with the words they speak. Each person there must think of what they can do to add to everyone else’s joy.

And that is my wish for each and every one of you dear readers; in the midst of Sukkot, may we all be blessed to live together in peace with ourselves, with our family and with each other; and, with that, we will indeed be filled with much joy in the year ahead.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach, which is inviting Community Leaders and Residents to join on Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. to help them “Think Out of The Box” as they plan for the next 5 years of programs and projects that will enable them to continue to be part of the very heart and soul of our beloved Deerfield Beach. All Are Welcome! They need your creativity, wisdom and originality. They need the gift of your presence.

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