Shabbat Shalom
Eikev | 23 Av 5775
Deuteronomy 7:12-9:3 | Isaiah 49:14-51:3
This Shabbat, Roger Price shares 
What's on the Menu?

 A potentially true story:

Gal says to Guy: "Let's go to services this morning." Guy responds: "What are they serving?"

Gal says: "You know, Shabbat services." Guy again: "Yes, but what are they serving? Is it meaty or is it fruity? Is it even tasty? Or is it bland? And, will there be dessert?"

Gal: "Yeesh! It's Shabbat and they have services. What's with the questions?" Guy: "Look. Sometimes I understand the menu and sometimes I don't. I just want to know about their dishes and preparation. Will it be plain and simple or with a lot of sauces and sides? What, exactly will they put on the table?"

Gal: "Anything else?" Guy: "Just one other thing -- who else will be there?"

We go to services on Shabbat morning - when we go - for different reasons. Some go simply because it is Shabbat, and it is the thing to do. Some go for comradery, to see friends, or for the opportunity to make new friends. Some go to converse with a God in which they believe and others to argue with a God in which they do not believe and still others talk to themselves, each and all cathartic exercises. For these folks, what's being served, what's being put on the table is not necessarily the highest priority.

But for others, like me, what will be placed on the table is the real draw. It is a parchment scroll, filled with Hebrew script. It will be removed from its housing with much ceremony, paraded around for all to see and touch, if they so desire, and then opened and read publicly.

After the scroll is read, it will be lifted off the table and people will chant in Hebrew that the scroll contains God's words which were written down by Moses. That's not true, of course, and later you can read more here about that. What is important now, though, is the recognition that the scroll that is placed on the table has provided nourishment for the Jewish People ever since numerous smaller scrolls were collected, collated and consolidated over centuries and then redacted and edited again and again and again until finally the great anthology became accepted as our foundational text millennia ago.

After the scroll is returned to its home, we will then discuss its contents and lessons. We don't know from week to week whether the discussion will focus on the plain text or whether the dish will be spiced up with references to speculation from long deceased sages or to more current events. Sometimes we laugh a lot. Other discussions are quite sober. Much depends on the chef d'Shabbat. But the meal is invariably filling. Three thousand years of Jewish experience served fresh every week. Good for the mind and the soul.

Come, have a taste. And there are always cookies later.

Roger Price writes about fact, fiction, and faith on the Judaism and Science website, You can even like it on Facebook. At Beth Emet, Roger has taught Adult Ed classes on the Hebrew Bible and led Divrei Torah (Torah discussions) at Kahal. Recently, he taught about "Jews in Space" at Hevreh, an adult learning community, in Pennsylvania. Roger has been married to the remarkable Marilyn Price for over 47 years.
Each Friday during 5775, we are featuring writings from you, our congregants, sharing reflections on Shabbat. We hope you will be inspired to share your reflections with the community. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact Stacey Zisook Robinson
This Shabbat at Beth Emet

Friday, August 7
6:30 p.m. (5:45 p.m. reception) Kabbalat Shabbat in the Sanctuary. D'var Torah by Rabbi Andrea London.

Saturday, August 8
9:30 a.m.  Kahal in the Weiner Room with Torah Reader Ezra Hilton and Torah Discussion Leader Judith Aronson. Aufruf for Ezra Hilton and Orly Henry.

9:30 a.m. Shabbat Minyan in Room 208.
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