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Home at last, home at last!

Friday, 21 August, 2020 - 8:49 am

After two years away at school, including 18 months in Utah, Shoshana is back home. It was a wonderful moment when Chavie along with her special delivery pulled into the driveway to the sounds of the other kiddos screaming “Sho-Sha-Na, Sho-Sha-Na, Sho-Sha-Na”. it’s amazing to watch a child come home; without guidance or explanations, they fit right back in and are at ease being in their “safe space”. A child in a healthy home instinctively knows that they can be themselves, that they can be vulnerable, that they can turn to their parents for help and they can enjoy their daily life without the stress to conform that society places on them.

In this week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, we read about the six cities of refuge, where an unintentional murderer finds sanctuary from the avenger of their victims’ blood. Spiritually, we too are to seek refuge in a place that can take-in a sinner, a Jew who has made many mistakes throughout the year and seeks change. The time for refuge is the month of Elul which starts today; one month given to us each year prior to the High Holidays to step up and, with deep introspection, up our human-G-d relationship. Yet, knowing about the Elul-refuge, escaping the crazy cousin as if you’re life depends on it, is only step one.  Truly coming home to G-d, to feel like you’re at home, takes five more steps, each of which is reflected in another Elul acronym:

  1. Teshuva: “Es Levavcha V’es Levav Zarecha – Your heart and the heart of your descendants”. Our outreach to G-d must come from the heart, genuinely, which means removing the dust and soot that cover it.
  2. Torah: “Ina LeYado Vesamti Lach – but G‑d brought it about into his hand, I will make for you a place”. G-d gave us a Torah. Immersing in it, even for a few minutes each day, is the most precious gift we can award ourselves.
  3. Tefilah: “Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li - I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me,”. G-d loves you, so don’t be worried about getting close, He appreciates you reaching out, so pray, pray a lot.
  4. Tzedakah: "Ish Lereieihu Umatanos Laevyonim - one to another, and gifts to the poor.” One can only get really close to G-d if we are close with His fellow creations and help them out.
  5. Mashiach: "Ashira Lahashem Vayomru Leimor – Sing to the Lord they spoke saying…”. This rearranged acronym reminds us that the ultimate coming home is with the coming of Mashiach, which will come about through our Torah study, prayer, acts of Tzedakah and wholesome Teshuva.

Let’s get busy!  

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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