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Hello from SAMS – St Albans Masorti Synagogue
We are a lively, warm and welcoming Jewish community within the Masorti movement, offering a centre for Jewish life in St Albans and the surrounding area. We provide our members many ways to enjoy a Jewish way of life: through education for all ages and a variety of services, activities and events throughout the year. We are a community that supports each other, reaches out to each other, worships, celebrates and learns together and helps each other lead a better life ... and we have a lot of fun.
Our website tells you all about SAMS. Whether you're a member, thinking of joining us, interested in Masorti Judaism or considering moving to the St Albans area and looking for a synagogue, please have a browse and then come along to see us in person!
SHANA TOVA FROM ALL AT SAMS
Rosh Hashanah Words from Rabbi Rafi
We read in this week’s Double Parasha, Nitzavim-Vayalech, about the final few chapters of the life of Moses. In it, he says, for the first time in his own words, that he will not be entering the Land of Israel. There is a certain finality to his saying what we already all knew. It takes his speaking those words for us to know that he accepted his destiny. His place is no longer to lead the Israelites. It is a very appropriate passage to read at this time of year, just a few days after Rosh Hashanah and before Yom Kippur whose central theme is growth and transformation.
There is a passage in the Zohar that illustrates beautifully the concept of growth. It looks at three leaders and how they reacted to God when challenged. Noah remained silent and did what he was told when God threatened to destroy the world. Abraham argued with God when told that God would destroy Sodom. Moses goes even further, not only arguing with God, but casting his lot in with the people of Israel.
Each of these great characters was put in a similar situation, yet with each successive generation, the limits were pushed as to what they could achieve. So, then why is it that Moses, who seemingly has reached the pinnacle, is not allowed to enter into the Land? How can it be that his successor, Joshua, could achieve anything more than Moses?
A rebbe once turned to his disciples and asked, “There is a ladder with 50 rungs. One Chassid is on the 25th rung, another on the 10th. Who is higher?” “Has our rebbe gone mad?” the students asked each other. “Of course, the one on the 25th.” “No, my children,” answered the rebbe. “It depends on which way you're going.”
Moses had led the people as far as he could. In order for them to continue on an upward trajectory, Joshua had to be the one to take over. It is a continuity of that course begun by Noah. Moses has accepted his path. He had grown out of his role and Joshua now must transition into the leadership position. In no way is it a demotion, for each successive generation learns from the previous and therefore can achieve ever more.
As we are about to enter into the Aseret Yemai Teshuva, the ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, let us take an introspective look at ourselves and see which way we are going on the ladder. I pray that with this upcoming Shabbat, we are all able to continue moving ourselves on an upward trajectory, as taught by our tradition.