Messages from Rabbi Russo

April 8, 2016 - 29 Adar Bet

Shabbat Shalom

One of the take-aways I have from Parashat Tazria is how our actions can evoke strong reactions.  The rabbis understood that Lashon Harah - evil speech or gossip - could have been a reason why the Israelites contracted tzaraat, a skin affliction.  We learn in the parashah that the individuals who contracted tzaraat had to leave the camp for seven days.
Our tradition has a lot to say about how we treat each other.  We learn in the Talmud that "if a person resides in town for thirty days, that is person is responsible for continuing the soup kitchen; After three months, the charity box; After six months, to the clothing fund; After nine months, to the burial fund; And after 12 months, that person is responsible to the repair of the town walls" (Bava Batra 8a).  
I am really proud of how the community, under Dustin Hausner's leadership, has been giving back to our community and Rockland County in meaningful ways. Elyce Bristol from People to People expressed her gratitude after our very successful Purim clothing drive.  She wrote, " I wanted you to know how much we appreciated the donations.  You all donated quite a bit and the boxes of clothing are still being sorted and displayed this week.  Thank you for thinking of us and your generosity." 
I am excited for community members to join Stephanie Hausner's team at Keep Rockland Beautiful on Sunday morning.  You can still register here for the West Nyack clean up if you would like to help at: http://www.keeprocklandbeautiful.org/cleanup-registration/
Our tradition teaches us that our actions make a difference in the larger community.  We hold power.  I encourage us to think about ways we can be thoughtful about our speech and actions as it relates to the community-at-large as we enter Shabbat.  
Shabbat Shalom.