Shabbat Vayelekh/Shuvah 5783

While in our era, the rabbinic sermon is a regular part of Shabbat and holy day services, formal preaching in the synagogue was not so common in previous centuries. But Shabbat Shuvah, the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, was a big day for preaching. In fact, the title given to the preacher on that Shabbat was “the admonisher.” It was his job to inspire and motivate the assembled Jews to take teshuvah as a deathly serious matter.
But a careful look at our tradition will reveal that the admonisher should have reasonable expectations about people’s capacity to change, even if they commit wholeheartedly to do so as a result of the sermon. On Shabbat morning, I’ll explain why. To prepare for what I’m teaching, please look carefully at these two verses from the very beginning–the Creation story in Genesis 1. Actually, the verses aren’t about people; they’re about the earth, and the creation of trees and fruit.
Click here to the read verses. Look carefully, and consider this question: did the earth follow God’s instructions? If so, how? If not, what part of the instructions did the earth change?
I’ll look at this with you on Shabbat morning, and I’ll explain how this teaching fits into my recommendations for this special Shabbat.
To help you with your teshuvah mindset, here are two songs that remind us that change is both possible and desirable!
Ishai Ribo says come home
Lyrics in Hebrew and English
Still my favorite melody and video message
(see page 223 of Mahzor Lev Shalem for the words in English and Hebrew)
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and Gemar Hatimah Tovah,
Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 6:20 PM
Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 31:1-30
Haftarah: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20