Weekly Shabbat Messages

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, August 29, 2014Click here to view our archived Shabbat messages.

Labor Day

This is the Shabbat of Labor Day Weekend! Labor Day, of course, is an American holiday first established as a Federal Holiday in 1887. Even though it’s associated with a long weekend holiday with picnics and swimming and “Last Splash” of going to pools and beaches, it started as a holiday celebrating the accomplishments of labor and labor unions: minimum wage, 40 hour work week, the end of child labor, collective bargaining, and more.

What is the Jewish concept of “labor?” There are two words in Hebrew for Labor/Work: Avodah, and M’lachah. In the Talmud, and other early holy legal books, the word “Avodah” is used to refer to “Holy Work” – i.e. the sacrifices in the Temple, and, eventually, the prayer service. The ancient Rabbis tell us: “The world stands upon three things: upon Torah, upon Avodah (Sacrifice/Prayer), and upon acts of loving kindness.” Of course Avodah can also mean work, self-sufficiency and industriousness. The pioneers of the Second Aliyah, the wave of immigration to Israel 1904 – 1914, felt that Avodah was key to creating a new homeland. Pioneers felt that they had to be productive in order not to live on charity and to build the land and sustain themselves. Frequent songs emphasized the work ethic: “Koom, bachur atzeil... v’tzei la’avodah” (Get up you lazy boy, and go out to work!)

The other word “M’lachah” was often used by the rabbis to mean something more cosmic: “Lo Alecha HaM’lachah Ligmor, V’Lo Attah Ben Chorin L’Hibatel Mimennah – It is not up to you to finish the work, but you are not free to ignore it.” It is up to us to make the world a better place, even though each individual isn’t capable of doing it all by him/herself.  So, on the Shabbat of Labor Day Weekend, let’s think of the place of hard work in our lives, in our history, and in our society.

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

 

 

Past Shabbat Messages

Shabbat & Secret Jews - Friday, April 26, 2013

Out of the Land of Heaven - Friday, May 3, 2013

Almost Shavuot - Friday, May 10, 2013

Cakes on Shabbat - Friday, May 17, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part I) - Friday, May 24, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part II) - Friday, May 31, 2013

Solomon's Temple and the Shabbat - Friday, June 7, 2013

Shabbat Starts When? - Friday, June 14, 2013 & June 13, 2014

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part I - Friday, June 21, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 2 - Friday, June 28, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 3 - Friday, July 5, 2013

Crypto Jews and the Shabbat - Friday, July 12, 2013

Shabbat Nachamu... The Sabbath of Consolation - Friday, July 19, 2013

Bialik and Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday, July 26, 2013

Angels and Shabbat - Friday, August 2, 2013

Shabbat in the Land of the Midnight Sun - Friday, August 9, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem As Told By Jody-  Friday, August 16, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem II As Told By Jody - Friday, August 23, 2013

The Streets of Jerusalem - Friday, August 30, 2013

The Final Heat – Closing in on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shabbat and Yom Kippur - Friday, September 13, 2013

Species, Species and More Species - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shabbat Breishit - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Evening & Morning - Friday, October 4, 2013

Singing and the Sabbath - Friday, October 11, 2013 & Friday, May 9, 2014

The Rainy Season - Friday, October 18, 2013

The Triennial Torah Cycle - Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sabbath and the Temple - Friday, November 1, 2013

It Is All In the Timing - Friday, November 8, 2013

Challah - Friday, November 15, 2013

Why is the Challah Braided? - Friday, November 22, 2013

Shabbat, Thanksgivukkah and Beyond - Friday, November 29, 2013

Carrying on Shabbat - Friday, December 6, 2013

Eruv Art - Friday, December 13, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness - Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness Continued - Friday, December 27, 2013

The First Shabbat of the Year - Friday, January 3, 2014

Shabbat Shirah - Friday, January 10, 2014

Shabbat and Trees - Friday, January 17, 2014

Strangers in our Midst - Friday, January 24, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part I - Friday, January 31, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part II - Friday, February 7, 2014

Shabbat, Babylonians, Tacitus, and the Communists - Friday, February 14, 2014

The Shabbat Umbrella - Friday, February 21, 2014

Lighting Shabbat Candles - Friday, February 28, 2014

Philip Roth and Shabbat - Friday, March 7, 2014

Shabbat Zachor - Friday, March 14, 2014

Shabbat in Amsterdam - Friday, March 21, 2014

Ahad Ha’am and the Shabbat - Friday, March 28, 2014

Shabbat at the JCCA Biennial - Friday, April 4, 2014

Shabbat HaGadol – The Great Sabbath - Friday, April 11, 2014

Challah on the Shabbat During Passover? - Friday, April 18, 2014

Shabbat and the Counting of the Omer - Friday, April 25, 2014

Shabbat and the First Yom Ha’Atzmaut - Friday, May 2, 2014

Sabbaths and Sabbaticals - Friday, May 16, 2014

Light and Dark and theShabbat - Friday, May 23, 2014

Learning on Shabbat - Friday, May 30, 2014

The Shabbat After Shavuot - Friday, June 6, 2014

Shabbat in Outer Space - Friday, June 20, 2014

The Longest Friday of the Year - Friday, June 27, 2014

Shabbat and the 4th of July - Friday, July 4, 2014

The Fast of Tammuz - Friday, July 11, 2014

The Three Weeks - Friday, July 18, 2014

Haftarot for the Three Weeks - Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ninth of Av - Friday, August 1, 2014

Sabbath Peace - Friday, August 8, 2014

All You Need is Love - Friday, August 15, 2014

The Secular Shabbat - Friday, August 22, 2014

Labor Day - Friday, August 29, 2014