Temple Isaiah classes for adults exploring Jewish life, history, and practice.

When we finish reading a book of Torah in synagogue, we chant together, “Hazak, Hazak, Venit-hazek!”  That is, “Be strong!  Be strong! And may we be strengthened!”  

Our meeting tomorrow morning will be our “Hazak, Hazak” meeting:  we will vote one last time for the recipient of our Tzedakah Fund, and we will say our “l’hitraot,” which expresses a wish to see each other again soon.  It’s not really goodbye.  If we stay engaged in Jewish community, we’ll see one another again, I have no doubt.  

I call this the “Hazak, Hazak” meeting, because it is the end of a class in which all we had to do was keep moving forward.  Every week a new topic awaited.  Now some of you will move on to the Adult Bnei-mitzvah program, for which I hope you are strengthened.  Some of you move forward with other educational plans, and I hope you are strengthened for those as well.  But if you don’t have a plan for your next step forward, let’s talk, because Jewish learning and Jewish growth doesn’t happen by accident.  

Why is “hazak, hazak” followed by venit-hazek?  “May we be strengthened” reminds us that a strong, educated Jewish community is strengthened by every participating member, every person who learns Torah.  By contrast, we are weakened when someone drops away, saying “I have learned enough.”  I hope that we will be strengthened as each of us moves forward in Jewish learning and Jewish life, from strength to strength!

See you tomorrow.

— Rabbi Adar

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