“Verily, God orders justice and kindness (Ihsan), and giving [help] to the relatives, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and evil and tyranny. He admonishes you, so that perhaps you may take heed.”
Reading Yasmina’s reflection, I thought about rabbis who end each Sabbath service with a closing benediction. This practice is now considered outdated by many, but was fairly standard in the synagogues of my youth. The closing benediction was often an opportunity for the rabbi to summarize the sermon and to remind the community to live by its message in the coming week. As I grow older, I can better appreciate the appeal of a ritual in which religious leaders offer guidance to the community and establish clear expectations for daily behavior. In Jewish liturgy, individuals often recite a biblical verse at the conclusion of their personal prayers in the Amidah: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, God, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalms 19:15) Perhaps this would be a fitting conclusion to any sermon; a reminder to both listeners and speakers that God is present in our lives and attentive to our words and actions.
This is Tziporah's response to Yasmina's reflection on "Raising Our God Consciousness," originally posted in Sept. 2011 and re-posted last week.