Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

Trustworthy People, Trust

Rabbi Jay M. Stein

Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

And God said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from the sky, and the people shall go out and gather each day that day's portion- that I may thus test them, to see whether they will follow My instructions or not." (Exodus 16:4)

In every relationship there is testing.  Parents and children, spouse, employers and employees, friendships  all have moments when they test each other. Usually the testing begins early in the relationship and then fades away as confidence each  grows stronger.  However, sometimes the testing never dissipates.  When that happens, is it because one has trouble trusting? Is it because the other continues to show a lack of trustworthiness? 

In the early stage of the relationship between God and the Jewish people, God tests them.  Although this test shows that God will continue to care for them,  God will continue to test them and they God. The relationship between the Jewish people and God continues to undergo challenges, most stemming from the fact that the Jewish people continue to be less that trustworthy.  However, God never gives up on them.

While trust may be a litmus test for a relationship, its absence sometimes has nothing to do with the other person.       

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Change Can Occur Without Even Noticing

Rabbi Jay M. Stein

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Our country has seen rapid changes in the past two weeks.  In some cases they seem almost revolutionary.  However, that is not how most change occurs.  Most of the changes that happen in our lives, happen so slowly we barely notice them. It is those alterations that truly challenge us to stay focused on our values and priorities and make sure we never stray too far.

This week, with the help of Jacob Goldman-Wetzler (a member of our Dalet class) I have started a new project. This week I explore this message further in"Learning in My Living Room." Please take just four minutes and enjoy it by clicking here.  


Ulterior Motives

Rabbi Jay M. Stein

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

I have heard the moaning of the Israelites... (Exodus 6:5)

And you shall know that I am the Lord your God... (Exodus 6:7)

I will bring you to the land I promised to Abraham...(Exodus 6:8)

For doing it without proper intent will lead to doing with proper intent (Pesachim 50b)

I'm not so certain that life would be better if we understood why people behave the way they do. Yet we spend a tremendous amount of energy trying to figure it out.  We speak of childhood scarring.  We refer to baggage accumulated through life.  We ascribe sinister motives to benign actions. We wonder about ulterior motives.

In this week's reading, God gives us three reasons for taking the Hebrews out of Egypt.

  • God heard the suffering and could not turn a deaf ear.
  • God was showing how powerful God is.
  • God was keeping God's promise. 

No matter the reason, the Hebrews are saved.  It really doesn't matter why. It only matters that our journey from slavery to freedom had begun.  

The same is true on our lives.  It doesn't matter why we choose to do good, to lend a helping hand.  It only matters that we do.  The lessons are simple: don't wait for the right reason to do good and don't question why someone else has already made that decision.