Shabbat B’shalach – Shabbat Shirah
January 26-27, 2018 – 11 Shevat 5778
Torah: Exodus 13:17 – 17:16
Haftarah: Judges 4:4 – 5:31

God said to Moses: Why do you cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites and let-them-march-forward! (Exodus 14:15)

We are eternally the people who kvetch (Yiddish for “complain, whine”).

Miracles done on their behalf never gave our ancient ancestors real faith that Moses and God would get them out of their immediate difficulties. God advised Moses to solve his own issues with the Israelites in the quote above, saying, “Let them take care of it themselves!”

We can do this ourselves, instead of kvetchin, let us kvell instead!

To kvell in Yiddish is literally to “well up” in delight and pride – to joyfully celebrate our blessings.

This week, I am “kvellen” about being a Jew at TBZ. Worshipping, learning, attending to our Torah scrolls, and even mourning, as a member of our Western New York Jewish extended family in the last two weeks all have truly been a “welling up” of connections and meaning, and even joy.

This week I attended the funeral of the mother-in-law of the rabbi who officiated at my Bar Mitzvah. Gathered around to mourn Ida Baumgarten (may her memory be for a blessing), I offered sympathy to a family filled with people I have known and gotten to know over the last three and a half decades. Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman placed his hands on my shoulders, and looked me in the eyes, offering me his blessing, something he had last done on the pulpit of a synagogue in Manhattan in May of 1983.

Thank you, all of you here in Buffalo at Temple Beth Zion and beyond, for welcoming us into the TBZ family and the Jewish Community of Western New York.

May we all find opportunities to kvell this week and every week,