Weekly Words of Torah

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This Shabbat, we begin the fourth Book of the Torah, the Book of Numbers, Sefer Bamidbar. Bamidbar means ‘in the desert or wilderness,’ so called because this book of the Torah is set in the desert, while the children of Israel are on their journey to the Land of Israel. The Book is called Numbers in English, because the Torah reading, and the Book, begin with the counting of the children of Israel, and provides an accounting of the numbers of the people.

As we begin this new book of the Torah, and also celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, the holiday of Matan Torah, the revelation of Torah at Sinai, I encourage us all to think about our own journeys in our lives, and how we are all journeying through our own ‘desert,’ revealing new insights into Torah each day, re-enacting Sinai each time we study Torah. As we are taught in Pirkei Avot, Ethics of our Ancestors, chapter 3, mishnah 1: Akaviah ben Mahalael taught: Ponder three things…Know your origin, your destination, and before Whom you will be required to give an accounting. Your origin? A putrid drop. Your destination? A place of dust, worms, and maggots. Before Whom will you be required to give an accounting? Before the Ruler of Rulers, the Holy One, blessed be God.” We are not all born with knowledge of Judaism. Some of us have come from a Jewish home, and some of us have chosen to live a Jewish life. If you are reading this, you are part of the Jewish community, in some way, and you are on a road to engage, enrich and empower Conservative Jewish Women. Take your time on this journey; we all have our own paths on this journey; we all have our own stops and destinations.  Know that God is with you as your journey. Enjoy the journey in good health, happiness, and joy. May you see new insights in Torah each day, and so you will reenact the moment of Sinai each time you study Torah and go on your Jewish journey.

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah will be a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields. WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org.