All You Need is Love…

Love Heart

Thought for Shabbat

“When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s Amore!”  Did you see that full moon last night?  It turns out it was about “amore;” today is Tu B’Av, the 15th Day of the Hebrew month of Av.  Tu B’Av is the Jewish cognate of Valentine’s Day.  According to tradition, this date was the beginning of the grape harvest that ended on Yom Kippur; on both these dates, the unmarried young women of Jerusalem would go out to the vineyards to dance.  It thus became a day for matchmaking.

Today, the main way we observe Tu B’Av is that we do not recite Tachanun (the penitential prayers said at Shacharit and Mincha).  In Israel, it is a day for gifts and romanticism for love partners.

Although the focus is on love between human beings, Judaism talks a great deal about the love relationship between the Jewish People and God.  Traditionally, this is how the Song of Songs in interpreted; it is a book of love poems that highlight the love God has for us, and us for God.  We are forever grateful for the love the Lord has shown us.

As we head into Shabbat on this Tu B’Av, let’s focus on our romantic partners and appreciate the ways they have impacted our lives and our hearts.  Judaism emphasizes more what we do more than what we say or think, so use this as an opportunity to show your loved one how you feel.  For those who do not have a partner, this is a great time to show friends, family and God how grateful we much we appreciate the relationship. 

It is never too late to say, “I love you,” and it can never be said too often.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Tu B’Av!

Rabbi Michael Ungar

Start your Spiritual Warm-Up Now…

Shana Tova

Thought for Shabbat

It is well known that going to the gym and starting to work out without some kind of warm-up is not the best idea.  The same is true with relationships; when you meet someone, it is best not to propose marriage on the first date!  

Now that Shavuot is in the rear-view mirror, I am feeling the same way about the high holidays that are just a few months away.  (I know!?!?)  While it is true that the month of Elul is really the time to gear up for the Ten Days of Repentance, summer gives us a bit of a longer runway.

If we think about it, when we are listening to your GPS and get off course, it is best to try to make a correction as soon as possible.  The further we keep driving on the wrong path, the more difficult it will be to get back on track and to our final destination.  Think back to the High Holidays last year.  Do we remember the goals we set and the changes we wanted to make?

We should not wait until Elul to take this walk down memory lane.  If we set our hearts, minds and souls to it, we can arrive at Elul already well back on track.

We often think of summer as a relaxing time.  (It should be that too!)  From a Jewish standpoint, however, it is time to orient ourselves to the task of meeting our goals and making the necessary changes.  

So…enjoy the weather, let’s not forget what lies ahead as the days begin to shorten.

Shabbat Shalom!