From the Desk - Wearing a Tallit
Shalom Friends! What an amazing Kehillah Shabbat we enjoyed last week at Beth Ora. The Shabbat began with a beautiful Friday service followed by a delicious egg roll and soup Kiddush, prepared by Adams Gourmet. Shabbat morning was spectacular with beautiful singing from Rabbi Heshy Benshimon, so ably led by the kids' choir and Irwin Ludmer's adult choir. There was lots of community participation and a quiz for the kids at the end of the service. Stay tuned for news on the next Kehillah Shabbat! Tzedakah and Chesed (Lovingkindness) in the Community Giving charity and helping others is an important part of being Jewish and we're always looking for more opportunities to do this here at Beth Ora. In this vein, I want to draw your attention to a few ventures (some of them new) that we have been highlighting recently: Tzedakah - I administer a number of funds which are used for good causes. You can find more details of them each week in the synagogue newsletter. In particular, I want to highlight a new fund that we have started to pay for meals for those who are sitting shiva and small welcome gifts for new members. We would welcome your donations for any of our funds which all go to excellent causes. Chesed - Everyone knows someone who is in hospital, just had a baby or is just going through a difficult time. A lovely way to show them you care is to bring them some soup. Beth Ora Community Care will provide you with soup (for free) for this purpose. Just contact Polly Storozum through the Beth Ora office (514-748-6559) and you can arrange to collect the soup and brighten up someone's life! Do you know anyone who would appreciate a lift to a weekday synagogue event or who would appreciate a visit to their home? If so, please let me know. And please put our Beth Ora Blood Drive in your diary (March 7th, 1:30 PM-7:30 PM). We hope these and other forthcoming initiatives will help to bring an even stronger spirit of caring to our special community. Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal with... Wearing a Tallit? In synagogue a couple of weeks ago, (four year old) Yehuda Knopf asked me a wonderful question! He noticed that I was wearing a tallit which, of course, has tzitzit strings attached at each corner. He knows that I also wear, under my shirt, another garment which also has tzitzit strings attached. Yehuda wanted to know why I need to wear both. It's a great question - what's the deal? The simple answer is that whenever a Jewish man wears a four cornered garment, he must ensure that tzitzit strings are attached to the corners. But that still begs the question as to why Jewish men are particular to put on such a four cornered garment (a tallit) during morning prayers (and the night of Yom Kippur) when Jewish practice is to wear tzitzit all day on the undergarment. Why do we need both? Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch- a great rabbinic authority, originally from Montreal - offers the following explanation: There are two kinds of clothing. There are clothes we wear to project an image. Sometimes the clothes we wear do not reveal our true selves but they are worn to create a certain impression.For example, a king, a judge and a soldier all wear clothing that proclaims their role, office or rank. But there are other clothes we wear when we are alone that may convey powerfully the kind of person we really are. Think about the way an artist dresses in his studio or a gardener tending to the roses. They dress that way because of what they are, not because of what they wish to seem. The two kinds of tzitzit correspond to these two forms of dress. When we pray, we sense how unworthy we may be and we feel the need to come before G-d as something more than just ourselves. We conceal our individuality by wrapping ourselves in the tallit. In the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, 'it is as if we were saying to G-d: I may only be a beggar, but I am wearing a royal robe, the robe of your people Israel who prayed to You throughout the centuries, to whom You showed a special love and took as Your own. The tallit hides the person we are and represents the person we would like to be, because in prayer we ask G-d to judge us, not for what we are, but for what we wish to be.' But there is a more intimate, personal aspect of faith which is more to do with what we are when we are alone. This is represented by the tzitzit as undergarment, beneath our clothing. This garment is not for outward show but, rather, expresses our innermost commitment to G-d. I don't know if Yehuda will understand that just yet!