My wife and I attended another service at the renewal synagogue called "Romemu" in NYC.
Again it was heart opening and in Rabbi David Ingber's words, was the source of a Shabbat soul-shower. For me in particular, I am grateful that Rabbi David was able to wash away my aversion to the Torah parsha and leave behind a sense of renewed purity toward the sacred text.
Let me explain. The day before, I had sat down to review the Torah reading as I do each Friday and felt a resistance, an unease in pursuing this exercise. Usually I look forward to studying the parsha, making use of a variety of commentaries hoping to discover deeper wells of meaning and wisdom in the Torah.
Why did I have such difficulty with Va'Eyrah? The answer was obvious-the plagues. The parsha enumerates seven of the ten makot, the ten afflictions visited upon the Egyptians as a violent means of liberation. However necessary, I have trouble dealing with all the suffering and gore; I would have preferred a more gentle means of persuasion.
Rabbi David focused on the early segment of the parsha, the theme of God's name and the newness of the Name for Moses and Israel at that critical moment of our experience. Essentially the parsha was saying that we are free to seek out new names of God for ourselves, at the same time honoring names by which God was known to our ancestors.
This "Kavanah"-this intention embedded in the text, was very meaningful to me.For many years I have searched for a new name and I believe I have found it. It's really not new; everything about God is both old and new. What is new is my personal relationship to God's Name.
For me, above all names and signatures of God, God as Giver is my source of understanding and personal engagement. God as Giver-He opens His Hand and satisfies all living things with an open heart -is the bedrock of religion inviting all to be grateful for the gift of being and the gift of life. It is this awareness that has the power of blessing our lives with joy and peace.Thank you again, Rabbi David; thank you again, "Romemu."