Pirke Avot 1:2—The world is sustained by three things: the study of Torah, the worship of God, and the performance of deeds of loving kindness.
June 28, 2019
25 Sivan 5779
Shabbat Shlach L’chah Numbers 13:1-15:41
Sometime in 1996 I had the idea to send a weekly email out to addresses I had of family and friends that would have a message and encourage people to remember that Friday evening is Shabbat. I didn’t know these things were called blogs, but I guess Shabbat Shalom is just that—a blog. Nearly every Friday since that time, I have sat down to write something. There have been breaks while on vacation or at GUCI or during the summer, but my guess is that I’ve written about 40 a year. Except for a couple, I’ve written all of them on Friday morning. Sometimes I knew what I wanted to say. Sometimes I just let my fingers do the writing. Sometimes I struggled with an idea. Usually by 8:30 in the morning I had Shabbat Shalom written and was off to the gym. In Canton, at some point on Friday, Shabbat Shalom was emailed to Temple members by the office, to my list on Google, and posted on Facebook.
Over the years I have tried to inspire people to light candles and make Shabbat in some fashion. I have also weighed in on issues facing our country or Israel. I have remembered people who have died whose lives impacted mine. I have noted important historical dates. I have “talked” Torah. I have shared important moments in my life and the life of my family. I have received support from some of you and criticism on my positions from others. One rabbi said that if I don’t piss people off then I am not doing my job. I don’t intentionally do that, but I know that not everyone agrees with how I think.
I made the decision some months ago that when I retire, Shabbat Shalom would retire with me. After maybe 1,000 of these “blogs” it is time to just say thank you to everyone who took the time to open the email and read what I wrote. My B-CC High School English teachers or my freshman comp teacher would be amazed today that I could actually string coherent sentences together. I’ve never seen myself as a writer, but a communicator. I find something to say and I figure out how to get the message to you. It is all I’ve tried to do.
I’ve had two editors who have corrected my grammar, spelling, and even content. Thanks goes to Elaine Arffa and Sandy Adland for taking the time to read this “blog” before I sent it out. Maybe someday I will figure out where a comma goes.
I chose the perek at the top of the page for my last one. I believe that the study of Torah, all of Torah which means the teachings that have come to us throughout the ages not just the five books, should be studied and contemplated and studied again. I believe in God, but I also know that each of us has his or her own understanding of God and fighting about God is the furthest thing from God. I believe in making the world a better place and will continue to do whatever I can however I can. The world needs these three things.
Last weekend the congregation celebrated my retirement. It was amazing and meaningful and spiritual and affirming. Sandy and I are blessed to have finished this part of our journey right here. I do want to thank our friends in Lexington and Indianapolis who nurtured and loved us for the majority of our journey. In the end we are staying here in Canton as long as we can to continue to be a part of this community. This is a good city with good people. Let me also thank Josh and Karen, and Liam, too, and Rachel and Evan for allowing me (though I never asked) to use them as the center of some of my writings. The five of you enrich my life every day. Thank you to Sandy for reading these, making Shabbat in our home, baking amazing challah, supporting me, and going on the journey. Next week we celebrate 38 years.
So, I come to my final sign-off. When you light your Shabbat candles this evening, light one for the beauty of celebrating Shabbat each week. Light the other candle and let its light guide you to the study of Torah, the worship of God, and doing deeds of loving kindness.
Thank you for allowing me in your heart and homes for so many years.
Rabbi Jon Adland