Shabbat Yitro 5784

Jewish tradition has many metaphors to attempt to describe God. Look through the siddur or Humash and you’ll find no shortage of names that are descriptions of the roles we believe God can play. Sometimes, God is Ish Milhamah, “Man of War,” as last week’s Song at the Sea said. Every morning in our prayers, we refer to God as Tzur Yisrael, “Rock of Israel.” There are dozens of other monikers for God in Jewish lingo.

What’s your favorite metaphor for God? If you have one, the Hasidic master Zev Wolf of Zhytomir has a friendly warning for you: don’t get too comfortable with it. He’s concerned that familiarity breeds contempt, or at least boredom. In fact, he derives an antidote to such boredom from a verse in our Torah portion, Yitro: “You have seen what I have done to Egypt, how I raised you upon the wings of eagles and have brought you to Me” (Exodus 19:4).

Did you know that eagles, as they age, shed feathers from their wings? Neither did I, but assuming it’s true, on Shabbat afternoon we will explore what this Hasidic master has to teach us about keeping our relationship with God fresh and perpetually renewed.

Shabbat Shalom and Shalom al Yisrael,

Rabbi David Wise

Candle lighting: 4:55 PM
Torah Reading: Exodus 18:1-20:23
Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6