Messages from Rabbi Russo

August 22, 2015 - 7 Elul

August 22, 2015
7 Elul 5775
From the depths of the month of Elul, we continually work on ourselves as we prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days. One of the lessons we glean from this week's Torah reading, Parashat Shoftim, is an awareness and appreciation for the natural environment. Within a discussion of laws during wartime, we read:
“When you lay siege to a city for many days, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the (fruit) trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; because you may eat of them, do not cut them down; for is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by you?” (Deuteronomy 20.19)

One way of reading this verse is to protect the environment, and we also learn ba'al tashchit from this, that we should not be unnecessarily wasteful. My Elul challenge for you this week is to cultivate an awareness and appreciation of nature. Go to the Nyack Farmer's Market next Thursday. Walk one of the beautiful hikes in our county. Pray or meditate outside one morning. Buy or select bulbs to plant in the fall. Take note of the produce that nature yields. Choose something that is meaningful for you to take yourself outside of your interests and acknowledge the awe around you.  

Another way you can prepare for the High Holy Days is by attending a Kavanna service next Shabbat, August 29. Please see the information about the service below. 

A Shabbat Morning Service of Kavanna in Preparation for the Days of Awe
Congregation Sons of Israel invites the entire community to join us Shabbat morning, August 29, for a mindful Shaharit service to usher in the Yamim Nora’im.

Come chant with us, meditate with us, reflect with us, and connect your soul to the Creator of All. The service will begin promptly at 9:30 am.
Shabbat Shalom.