Friday, April 15, 2016
This Shabbat is a special one called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat. It's unclear why exactly it is called Shabbat HaGadol. Some say it is because of a line in the Haftarah, and some say it is because of the length of the rabbi's sermon! In ancient times, Rabbis would give only two sermons a year, one on Shabbat Tesuvah and one on Shabbat HaGadol. The sermon on Shabbat Tesuvah would focus on the laws of tesuvah to prepare for Passover. Shabbat HaGadol would often be a discourse on the laws of kashruth, and, if you are wondering, it was quite long. Thankfully, we have the internet now, and more information at our finger tips than ever before. Last week, I taught about 'kitniyot' on Passover for Ashkenazim, but also about kashruth in general. I also provided the congregation with a guide to kashruth which can be found in this week's Ezine.
This week, for my Shabbat HaGadol sermon, I would like to talk about an important issue - the effects of our national discourse during the current election on our children. Specifically, I want to refer to a phenomenon that has been talked about recently called “The Trump Effect”. The Southern Poverty Law Center published a report this week on research it has done in our nation's schools during this election cycle which reveals a startling effect on our children. I will post some the study and videos on this topic on my blog and Facebook page for those interested
During this sermon, I can assure you, that I will not be endorsing a candidate, nor will I be telling anyone to vote against a specific candidate. I will be teaching about an important topic: the responsibilities we have as adults to our children and the Jewish values we teach them. This is meant to prepare us for the holiday of Passover and the ritual of the Seder. The Seder is arguably the most important time when parents and adults interact with children. During the Seder, we are obligated to elicit questions from our children. We are commanded to guide them and become their teachers. What can we teach our children about what we as a nation are experiencing? What can our children teach us?
I hope you can join us this Shabbat morning for my Shabbat HaGadol sermon and for our uplifting prayer services both on Friday evening and Shabbat morning.