Temple Jeremiah


Shabbat Va’eira

Dear Friends,

I love spicy food. Whether its Cajun, Asian, or Mexican, the heat makes it better. As a teen, I had a weekly ritual going to Buff Joe’s on Clark Street in Evanston to enjoy a single order of “suicide” wings and a “Gutbuster” RC Cola. Just watching the staff behind the counter throw a handful of jalapenos and then pour Cajun hot sauce onto my tub of wings made me giddy. Now, I find myself adding gobs of red pepper flakes to the pizza that Krystal and I treat ourselves to over the weekend. Regardless of the type of food, I love it spicy.

It’s kind of strange to say that we love food in general. How it possible to “love” an inanimate object that is going to find its way from a plate into our mouth. It is not uncommon to treat everyday objects as though they have feelings and emotions. How many of us have named our cars and when something happens to it, speaks to it as though it will soothe the car?

This is similar to the tradition of covering the challah on Shabbat before saying Kiddush. We cover the challah so that it does not become embarrassed while Kiddush is being recited. The challah is embarrassed? Does anyone else find this odd? Did some bubbe (grandmother) from the old country make up this tale to explain the order of the blessings?

Coincidentally, there is a similar teaching about this week’s parsha, Va’eira, where Moses cannot bring himself to “hit” the water of the Nile in order to bring on the first plague. Instead, the teaching says he passed the role over to his brother, Aaron. Our sages say Moses couldn’t do it because the water played a role in saving him as a baby. Just like the food and car I mentioned before, we know water does not have feelings. Rabbi Menachem Lehrfield of the Jewish Outreach Initiative points out that, “It’s not about the water, it’s about Moses… For Moses to truly feel a sense of gratitude with people he had to go so far as to feel that gratitude towards water. He had to have that sensitivity towards an inanimate object knowing that by going that far it would affect the way he related to other people.” So if I am trying to become a more sensitive person, if I go out of my way to make sure I don’t hurt the feelings of bread, how much more careful am I going to be to make sure I don’t hurt the feelings of another person?

As you walk into our building in the coming weeks I encourage you to partake in a project started by our school this past Sunday. With Dr. Anne Lidsky’s leadership and the help of Adam Kahan, Rabbi Rachel Heaps, and all the wonderful teachers and madrichim, we asked families of our Kindergarten through Sixth Graders to discuss and create “Tags of Gratitude” that are being hung on a Gratitude Sculpture which will be displayed in the school. There are ribbons and tags located in the school for all to partake in this meaningful activity.

We should all take the time to process all the wonderful things we have to be grateful for.

Shabbat Shalom,

Daniel Glassman

About Daniel Glassman

Daniel Glassman has been Temple Jeremiah's Executive Director since November 2012. Before coming to Jeremiah, he served as the overnight camp director and conference center director at JCYS Camp Henry Horner in Ingleside, Ill. Danny has his bachelor's degree in social science from National Louis University and is working towards his Masters of Jewish Professional Studies at the Spertus Institute of Learning and Leadership. Danny is a member of the National Association of Temple Administrators (NATA). He currently serves as president of the Chicago Area Synagogue Administrators (CASA) the local branch of the NATA. He is also still very much active in the camping community serving as accreditation visitor for the Illinois section of the American Camp Association. When he's not working or in class, he is with his wife, Krystal, and their children, Eden and Levi.

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