Shabbat Messages

Each week, members of the Clergy prepare a Shabbat message to the congregation. Here on this page you can read the latest message and find an archive of all of the Shabbat Messages since March 13, 2020.

This Week

Rabbi Leder's Shabbat Message - June 7, 2024
“G‑d spoke to Moses in the desert of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting saying: Take a census of the whole Israelite company [of fighters] by the clans of its ancestral houses, listing the names, every male, head by head.” (Numbers 1:1-2)

Back in the day, when this biblical census took place, only men who could fight were tallied. In that era, the future of the Jewish people depended solely upon them. Thankfully, since then, what it means to fight for our faith has evolved. We cannot all be in the IDF, but we can all defend Torah, Israel, and decency.  

You choose to belong to a synagogue, to send your child or grandchild to its schools, you celebrate Shabbat, visit Israel, study Torah, read a Jewish book, struggle to learn Hebrew, contribute time or money to a Jewish organization, respond to Jew hatred, have a mezuzah on your door, a Hebrew prayer in your heart, send your kids to a Jewish camp (not just a camp for Jews), you are a proud, unabashed Jew, you refuse to belittle or berate, gossip, or mislead, you show up for the shiva, you sing out in shul while your kids roll their eyes, you are loud and proud on campus, you count your blessings, you pray as if everything depends upon God but act as if everything depends upon you, you overcome the paralysis caused by the enormity of the threats, you act, you eat, you dance, you laugh, and love your people—then you count, you are a warrior in the Jewish battle against fatalism and evil, you are a warrior for Torah, God, peace, and goodness.  

A census expresses a paradoxical truth. On the one hand, it implies that each individual is significant. On the other hand, a headcount is the ultimate equalizer; each member of the community, from the greatest to the lowliest, counts for no less and no more than “one.” God repeatedly commands Moses to count the Jewish people to emphasize both their individual worth—the fact that no single person’s contribution is dispensable—as well as their inherent equality.  

There are so many ways to matter—each unique to us as we are unique in all of history and humankind, and yet, equal for all of us in importance. How beautiful, how ennobling, how close to perfect; to know that each of us matters, and/but none of us more than any other.    

Love and Shabbat Shalom,

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