We just finished Shir Joy Havdalah a few hours ago.  I’m still humming and feeling the music in my soul, still riding the high from it and still feeling the love.  Sometimes, it’s the simple things that bring unexpected joy:  The music of Elton John or a soulful version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow,  a smile that radiates love, harmonies, short texts of gratitude and connection. 

It was once asked what the most important passage of the Torah is.  Many people weighed in:  One sage suggested it was the declaration of the Shema.  Another sage suggested: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Another sage felt confident it must be: “….On the day that God created man, God created man in God’s image”.  And then one final answer was offered, a passage from the Torah portion that we read this morning, “You shall offer one lamb in the morning and one lamb in the evening.”  

If we were playing the game; one of these things doesn’t belong, it would seem that the last option would surely win.  How could it be that bringing a lamb in the morning and in the evening was even in the running for the most important mitzvah in the entire Torah?

The great mystic and scholar Maharal (1525–1609) explains:  This verse [about the lambs] doesn’t refer to an earthshaking event such as Creation, nor to the revolutionary concept of a single invisible God, to the (equally revolutionary) need to see beyond ourselves and to treat the ‘other’ with respect and even love. Instead, the verse chosen focuses on the concepts of consistency and constancy. 

Too often, we overlook the simple things in our lives, as we await the big trips, special occasions and extraordinary experiences. Yet, sometimes, it’s the simple things; a beautiful song, a smile that radiates love, a pretty harmony, a quick expression of care, that keep us going and fill our souls.  So here’s to a week of simple pleasures, small kindnesses and to elevating the mundane things we do every morning and every evening  into something that feels worthy and holy.  

Soulfully Yours,

Rabbi Dana Saroken


5 thoughts on “Rabbis message July 13”


    Wow. THANK YOU, Rabbi, and shavua tov.

  2. Renee King says:

    Shir Joy was so wonderful. I loved every moment. As you wrote I am thinking of my life now, simple, not running from place to place. With the help of your gratitude sessions, I realized how happy I am now and how peaceful I feel. There is plenty to do from my home, learning, giving, listening, and enjoying the beauty of the flowers blooming and the birds that come to feed and sing.

  3. Jill Eisen says:

    It is the everyday day things, the consistency. Two weeks ago I went through the Chik’filet drive-thru. The greeter was so cheerful, kind and gave me her undivided attention. I remember that feeling she gave me two weeks ago! She made me feel that I mattered. It was a great reminder that I have that capacity too – to make people feel like they matter.

  4. Robin Sakin says:

    Thank you Rabbi Saroken for continually providing a sense of calmness to my world and an enhanced sensibility to my life. Forever grateful.

  5. Sheryl Title says:

    Such beautiful message and loved Shir Joy!! XO

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