On shabbat morning, July 21 (iyH), my son Ian and I will be coordinating
the davenning at the Havurah of South Florida minyan, University of Miami
Hillel House, 10 a.m. Ian will layn. We are calling it "Shabbat Shalom"
because the service will emphasize and be constructed around all the
prayers which mention "shalom," set to niggunim, both old and new
(to the Havurah), Shlomo Carlebach melodies, etc.: "Oseh shalom,"
"Sim shalom," etc. plus other shalom references tucked away within the
service that usually go unnoticed because we are not accustomed
to singing them or else we zip right through them without thinking much about
"shalom." Notice that "shalom" isn't translated here--it not only means
"bon jour, salud and skol, and twice as much as hello" but much more than
"peace" in its conventional sense.
This shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Av. Our Hallel and some of our other niggunim
will reflect the mood of the most intense phase of the period traditionally
known as bayn ha-meitzarim, the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz
and the 9th of Av. The connection of the theme of "shalom" to Tisha b'Av is
a profound one for at least two reasons. The first is that the destruction of
the First and Second Temples comemorated by the 9th of Av was the result of
war. The brutalities and horrors of violence between nations, so eloquently
recounted in the book of Eichah (Lamentations), which is read on
Tisha b'Av, are all too evident in the world in which we live. Furthermore,
Jewish tradition teaches that the Second Temple was destroyed as a
punishment for sinaat chinam, causeless hatred among Jews. While we
may not be able to control the behavior of nations, we can certainly begin by
being rodfei shalom--pursuers of peace, harmony and shleimut--within
the various circles in which we live our lives. The first nine days of Av are
a time for reflection on the various ways we can actively strive for shalom
in the world, for Israel, in the places we live and work, in our Havurah, in our
homes, and within ourselves.
Jeff Agron will be leading this week's Torah discussion. I won't be layning
or leading the torah discussion on July 28 (as is stated in the Havurah
newsletter) since I will be out of town that week. I will be layning
and leading the Havurah torah discussion on Sept. 1.