Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

Kindness Takes Work

Rabbi Jay M. Stein on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Who knows 13? I know thirteen. Thirteen are the attributes of God.

We conclude our sedarim with this wonderful song in which we play a numbers game. In this Shabbat’s Torah reading we are introduced to the 13 attributes of God, “Adonai, Adonai, a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and granting pardon.” (Exodus 34:7)

It may be difficult to discern how the Rabbis calculate 13 different attributes, however, we can see a pattern of kindness and forgiveness.   Over the course of the next seven weeks we will play another numbers game as we count from Passover to Shavuot. Each day we will count the Omer and we will need to do an accounting. Between Passover and Shavuot we will journey from slavery to receiving the Torah and we will have ask ourselves the question of whether we have earned both our freedom and the Torah. 

Each day we make choices between patience and kindness and anger and resentment. Each day we have the option of mimicking God or giving in to our lesser selves.   Let us to use this time between Passover and Shavuot to review how we did each day.