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A D'Var Torah from Rabbi Josh Hearshen

07/30/2020 03:48:15 PM


Rabbi Joshua Hearshen

Dear Friends,

This week we read Parshat VaEtchanan. It is a very important portion in the Torah as it contains the words of the Shema and the first paragraph called the V’Ahavta. It also contains the words of the Eseret HaDibrot, the Ten Commandments. I am always careful to not use the colloquial terminology of the “Ten Commandments” because as Jews we do not have 10. We have 613 mitzvot in the Torah of which theoretically ten are found on those tablets. But in reality, there aren’t even ten there either. There are nine. The way that we divide the verses up in the Jewish world, the first is a statement of fact or faith, the oneness and uniqueness of God. That there is only One God is a foundational text in the Jewish world. It was that statement that differentiated the Jewish world from the non-Jewish one in those days. With the founding of the Jewish religion monotheism was born. That subject is something for another article and another time. For now, I would like to simply converse about the importance of faith and all that we take from having some.

In a dark world it is easy to lose hope. In times of struggle it is easy to demand a permanent snooze on our alarm clocks and not get out of bed to confront all that is around us. But when we are blessed with the gift of faith we are able to stand up with our feet firmly on the ground and reach out. We act not because we know we will make an impact but because we believe and hope that we will change the world. We act not because we have proof of what others are thinking and feeling, but because of our deepest hopes and aspirations that we will stir something in their cores and souls. Faith is the fundamental bedrock of a life well lived. It comes in all shapes and sizes and it relates to various aspects of our lives. Faith is something that is hard to build and easy to lose. But it is something that helps us whenever we look for and find it. The basic precept that we believe is something that guides our every step and our every heartbeat.

  1. giving blood for instance. We go to blood drives and sit in a chair for a period of time and donate blood. The blood is taken from us and we do not see it again. We do not see it get used. We do not even get confirmation that it is ever used. But we go because we believe that the blood coursing through our veins will be helpful and restoring to another person. That faith pushes us to act and to step forward and do something to help total strangers. We all have the opportunity to step forward and show our faith this coming Sunday at the Quarterly Jewish Blood Drive that our Keilah and a number of other intown Synagogues are helping to sponsor. See how to register further down in this eblast.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Hearshen

Wed, August 5 2020 15 Av 5780