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Parshat Bechukotai

Dear STOCS Friend:

This Shabbas we will be concluding the third book of the Torah, Vayikra. Upon its completion the entire congregations recite:  חזק, חזק ונתחזק--"Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us strengthen others as well. The origin of this custom is a bit cloudy. The tradition of reciting "חזק, חזק ונתחזק" is indeed a powerful reminder of the importance of resilience and mutual support within the Jewish community. In times of adversity, coming together as a united front becomes even more crucial.

Fauda star Yaakov Zada Daniel underscores the significance of solidarity among Jews, by saying that both within Israel and across the diaspora. It is essential to maintain a strong connection and support system, especially when facing external threats and discrimination.

Strengthening ourselves individually and collectively enables us to navigate challenges with greater resilience and determination. Additionally, extending support to those who need it most reinforces the bonds of community and provides much-needed comfort and encouragement.

In the face of rising anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, staying united and steadfast becomes a powerful defense. By standing together and uplifting one another, we not only confront adversity but also embody the enduring strength and resilience of the Jewish people throughout history.

This morning in Shul, I quoted Rav Soloveitchik who points out the word עם may vocalized in two ways. עַם—nation or עִם with.  Only when we are united with each other are we a true nation. Today more than ever we need to be a united עם ישראל Nation of Israel!

Join me in shul this Shabbas as we recite special teffilot for Israel, the hostages and the IDF. Together and united we can make a difference.

Shabbat Shalom


Rabbi Evan Shore


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