As the Torah Turns

Rabbi Lader’s Weekly D’var Torah


I was invited to share a few words during a zoom meet-up for our high school class, which included our rising 8th and 9th graders who will attend next year… and another fond farewell to our graduating seniors.  In preparation for Shavuot and recalling the experience of standing at Sinai to receive the gift of Torah, I shared with our students a midrash which explained that during the Revelation at Sinai, “Each Israelite heard what was in their power to hear” (Sh’mot Rabbah 28:6).  From babies to bubbes and zadies (grandparents)… no one experienced Sinai in exactly the same way, but everybody was present and participated in the best way they could.  I then reminded the students that so many of them had begun their Jewish education here at temple with our Consecration family program, as each child stood before the open Torah scroll with his or her parent(s) and read the Shema together… And then, how almost all of the students returned (or will soon return) to the bima to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah… And then how many have come to the bima during this time of Shavuot for Confirmation… At each stage of their life, they came to the Torah and “heard what was in their power to hear” – and sharing their understanding(s) along the way. And then, the highlight of the meet-up for me, was when the seniors were asked to share a word of wisdom with the next high school class.  They got to share their Torah:  

  • “Don’t limit yourself to what are required courses; make sure you take classes that interest you, and broaden your experience.” 
  • “Don’t be afraid to try something new; it can be the best decision you ever made.”
  • “Come to Sunday School as much as you can, and participate in NFTY to appreciate the larger Jewish community. Be proud to be a Jew.”

Their youthful wisdom rings so true: vision beyond the status quo, be prepared to move in new directions, show up with pride.

L’dor va’dor – from generation to generation; our teen’s wisdom was passed to the next generation. Each Shavuot, we again stand at Sinai and hear what is in our power to hear.  The experiences of each stage of our lives helps to inform how we share our gift of Torah.  What are your words of wisdom; what is your Torah?

From Previous Weeks

Emor – Lev. 21:1-24:23

Our Torah portion this week is ‘Emor – Lev. 21:1-24:23.  We read about specific rules for Aaron, his sons, and future generations…

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