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Reb Lisa's Message


Eitz Hayim Hi–Torah is a Tree of Life. This week we celebrate the Jewish New Year of the Trees (Tu B’Shevat was on Monday) and the giving of Torah in Parashat Yitro.

Our Menchkins celebrated Tu B’Shevat on Sunday with a fantastic playgroup. We made edible trees out of pretzels, grapes and cherry flavored Cherrios. We also planted parsley and lettuce in preparation for Passover.

In Shul School, during Modeh Ani (gratitude) prayers,several students said they were grateful for trees. Lina mentioned that trees are important because they help and support other trees. The other students agreed and added that trees give us life, they give us everything. Amen!

So too for the Tree of Life that we call Torah. This Tree of Life supports us and guides us in how to support others. Our tradition teaches, “Hafok ba, v’hafok ba.” Turn it and turn it, for everything is in it. Torah gives us life. If we search her depths for her wisdom, we find that Torah gives us everything.

In this week’s Parasha, we receive Torah at Mt. Sinai. We relive that moment as we pass Torah from generation to generation–L’Dor v’dor. We are blessed to have so many children in our Jewish community. We have 21 Menchkins, children 5 years and under–with one on the way! We have an active Shul School with ten students. And of course we just celebrated four b’nai mitzvah in the past year. Incredible.

There is much in the world right now that needs our attention–so many things to worry about, lots to lose sleep over, and tragedies we must grieve. At the same time, we have much to celebrate and kvell over. Our community is bursting with life, activity, and potential–just like the sap rising in the trees and the buds preparing to pop. Eitz Hayim Hi. Torah is a Tree of Life. We nourish this tree by engaging in our Jewish community, staying connected, and keeping each other strong. L’chaim!

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