Rabbi's Shabbat Message

Dear STOCS Friend: 

Though we will be reciting Selichot (Penitential Prayers) beginning Saturday night, we should never forget the importance of joy and happiness.  There is no doubt, Selichot elicits a sense of concern and worry.  God will be opening the Books of Life and Death in ten days.  Where will our names be found?

At the same time, Bobby McFerrin said it so clearly, Do not worry, be happy.  The Torah teaches:

תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָבַדְתָּ אֶת יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְטוּב לֵבָב מֵרֹב כֹּל:

Because you did not serve Hashem, your God, amid gladness and goodness of heart


Rabbeinu Bachya explains:

והשמחה במעשה המצוה מצוה בפני עצמה, מלבד השכר שיש לו על המצוה יש לו שכר על השמחה

The element of joy though part of a mitzvah, is still a mitzvah on its own in the performance of commandments.  One receives a reward for the performance of a mitzvah as well as a reward for the joy that accompanied it.

Unfortunately, we lose our way and direction in the daily grind of life.  ביטחון faith demands we take into account Hashem is the director of the universe, meaning, there is no need to worry!

Rabbi A. Scheinbaum writes about a ship at sea during a fierce storm. All the passengers were in great distress due to the howling wind and roaring waves.  One passenger could not restrain himself and ascended to the wheelhouse of the ship.  The ship's pilot was calmly doing the job he was trained to.

However, when he saw the concerned and agitated passenger, he gave him a big and reassuring smile. When the uneasy man saw this, he returned to the other passengers on the ship. He related the following words:  I have seen the face of the pilot and he smiled at me: all is well. 

Sometimes the hysteria of the moment clouds our ability to make sense of the events unfolding before us.  Sometimes we need to stop the worry and apprehension and embrace a little bit of joy and happiness.  Try it you may like the results!


Shabbat Shalom


Live the Jewish calendar joyously at every age and stage of life. Sha'arei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse offers opportunities for congregants from toddlers to seniors. We hold a daily minyan every morning and evening.


Experience and enjoy the beauty, meaning, and relevance of our traditional services. Beginners are always welcome!


From rejoicing with the Torah to sharing festive meals, our Congregation is open to all who seek personal fulfillment and a deeper understanding of Judaism.


Rabbi Evan Shore teaches a range of classes from Basic Judaism and Beginner Hebrew to advanced Talmud and Halachah classes.


Visiting scholars, guest lecturers and the members of our Congregation give insight on topics ranging from medicine, law and literature to history and the current situation in Israel.


Sha'arei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse also offers a variety of children’s programs from Tot Shabbat to Senior NCSY. Rabbi Shore is also a beloved teacher at the Syracuse Hebrew Day school and he leads the junior congregation and a wide array of children’s activities.