When Cantor Frankel chants the 7 Blessings/the Sheva Brachot in the vows renewal ceremony, we will hear a list of almost every word the Hebrew dictionary knows for joy. And what a joy it is to celebrate the bond of love and commitment! The conclusions of the final two of the blessings ask God to cause the couple to rejoice. Traditionally text says chatan and kallah, groom and bride; we are a community that thankfully includes LGBTQ couples and so we make a change to: reh-im and ahuvim, two words for beloved. If you listen closely, you will hear that in the 6th blessing, we ask God to cause one beloved and (in Hebrew v’) the other beloved, to rejoice together. In the 7th blessing, we ask God to cause one beloved with (in Hebrew im) the other beloved to rejoice together. By the time we reach the 7th blessing, the couple is not only one and the other, but one with the other, bound together in covenant. Read the rest of this entry »
(delivered by Rabbi Maderer at Shabbat service 12/18/16) Last week I shared with you a time when I lived in the suburbs and my family overdid it in the area of home security. I made fun of the way that, even with a burglar alarm in our house, we added to the front porch, an extra security measure: a big dog-food bowl. Even though we did not have a dog. I went on to make fun of — and to be clear, I was making fun of my mother– I went on to make fun of the way that, to make it seem real, we painted onto the bowl the name of our fake dog: Shomer, Hebrew for “guard.”
Funny story: Last week, here in Philadelphia… you guessed it. My garage was broken into. Who here believes in karma?
Now, seriously, do you think there is a connection? One week I am making fun of my mother for over-securing our house all those years ago, and days after I write those words, a break-in. Coincidence? Karma? God? There was a time I would have said: there is no such thing as coincidence. I believed God influenced the details of our lives. Yet as my life and rabbinate move forward, I find my response to the world changes: more questions, less certainty of God’s role, judgment, or expectation. Read the rest of this entry »