May We Be Strengthened


Friends, at the Federation Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday evening, Ted Zablotsky, M.D., our Board Secretary, shared this wonderful D'var Torah. I hope you find it as meaningful as I did. Shabbat Shalom. - Howard

Earlier this week, we celebrated Simchas Torah (which means Rejoicing of the Torah) - the day when traditionally, we complete the cycle of weekly readings of the Torah portions. In a very cool process, the last portion of the Torah is read and on the same night, it is immediately followed by the reading of the first Torah portion. The cycle ends with the portion called V'Zot Habracha, And this is the blessing, and the new cycle begins with Bereishis (Genesis) with the opening words, In the beginning. Even though the Torah ends, the message is clear: And this is the blessing - that in the beginning, G-d created the world.

We just spent a whole year reading each and every portion, and when we finally complete it, we start all over again. We don't stop and take some time off and we don't look at the process as a burden. Instead, we show how committed we are by immediately starting the process again with joy and enthusiasm, with dancing and celebration. To show that the Torah is beloved to us like a new object and not like an old command which a person no longer treasures. We sing and dance for hours, carry the Torah scroll, and express our joy at having the opportunity to come so close to G-d. 

Here in Greater Hartford we have a strong and successful Jewish community and we all work hard to keep that success moving in a positive direction and to continue growing and improving. At Federation, we completed our Annual Campaign and immediately started the next one. As tough as the process was, as much as we put ourselves out there to ask for yet another measure of support, we pressed on to completion. Instead of taking a break and resting on the success recently completed, we start all over again, recommitting ourselves to the importance of sustaining the community and understanding the importance of our work. 

We should celebrate the opportunity to start our campaign again - to start a new year of events, activities, missions, classes, programs, outreach, support and education - with joy and enthusiasm. The tradition we follow at the completion of every book of the Torah is for the congregation to chant, Chazak Chazak V'nitchazek: Be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened.

This is our eternal hope. The Torah and the Federation have no beginning and no end. Through our learning, our continuing efforts and following of the Torah, the Jewish people will be eternal. 

Shabbat Shalom.
Ted Zablotsky, M.D.
Board Secretary
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

Image credit: Ed Nickow/The Torah in Haiku


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