Dear Friends,

When we speak of a Mitzvah, most people will understand that word to mean “a good deed.” But the literal meaning of Mitzvah is “commandment.” So do we regard a Mitzvah as a sacred deed or action, rooted in the commandments of the Torah. Thus it is a Mitzvah to feed the hungry, to uplift the fallen, to make certain that equal justice prevails is our courts of law for both the wealthy and the poor. When we speak of a Mitzvah, most people will understand that word to mean “a good deed.” But the literal meaning of Mitzvah is “commandment.” So do we regard a Mitzvah as a sacred deed or action, rooted in the commandments of the Torah. Thus it is a Mitzvah to feed the hungry, to uplift the fallen, to make certain that equal justice prevails is our courts of law for both the wealthy and the poor.  

While most of the 613 Mitzvot concern our treatment of other people and the pursuit of a just and kind-hearted society, it is also a Mitzvah to hear the shofar, to eat matza at Passsover, and to fast on Yom Kippur. 

MITZVAH DAY is this Sunday morning November 19th, beginning at 10am. We will come  together as a congregation to participate in an array of activities and projects that represent our reaching beyond the walls of our own temple. All of the efforts are intended to bring some measure of joy and comfort to people who are less fortunate than us. Whether to children or the elderly, MITZVAH DAY is our “day of giving” to  others, and I hope that you will be a part of it.

It is also a Mitzvah to give thanks, and to feel gratitude, for the blessings of our lives. So on Sunday afternoon will we hold our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving service. Ministers and people from local churches will be participating in the service whose theme is “Healing the World.” The service begins at 4:00pm and will be followed by a light supper consisting of the food items being prepared for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner “cook-a-thon.” (members of our temple and the larger community will come together throughout the week to prepare close to two-thousand Thanksgiving meals for those who would otherwise go without a “proper” meal on that day. I hope that you will join us for the service, and then help us throughout the week in the preparation of these meals. Yes, “it takes a community!” to realize this worthy effort.

Our sages teach that “the reward for doing a Mitzvah lies in the act itself.” That is to say we become bigger and better people when we give of ourselves, even as we bring a touch of holiness into our world. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we realize that each of our efforts can make a difference in a hurting and often lonely world.

Shabbat Shalom,

         Rabbi David Greenberg