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Bringing the Messiah

It snowed again this past Shabbat.  It reminds me of some of the summers I spent at Jewish camp when it seemed to rain every Shabbat.


When trying to decide what to do about Shabbat services and other weekend activities, I recalled a number of years ago when the weather forecasters had given dire predictions of a heavy snowfall, and several of the local school systems announced that they would be closed the next day.  Imagine how the administrators must have felt when the next morning the much anticipated snow did not arrive.


Although the weather forecasters had been predicting a record-breaking heavy snowfall, nevertheless, I waited until the first snowflake actually fell before making the decision to cancel services and other activities.


I subscribe to the notion that it is best to be skeptical about predictions – especially when they are about the future.


Rather than just notify our congregation that we were going to be closed, I wanted to use this as a teaching opportunity and to convey a spiritual message.


Here is what I wrote our members to announce that we would be closed:


“I would like to encourage families to use this Friday and Saturday when most all of Washington will be covered by snow to enjoy and appreciate a true Shabbat together.


Have a leisurely Shabbat dinner tonight – – Light the Shabbos candles, say the blessing over the wine and challah, sing Shalom Aleichem and bless your children.  On Saturday, you can also enjoy a Shabbat meal together as well, and say the kiddush and motzi.


The Torah portion for this week, Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18 – 20) includes the 10 Commandments.  Take this opportunity to speak as a family about the Torah portion.


The Talmud tells us that if every Jew observed a true Shabbat we can bring the Messiah.  Maybe we can make it happen – – and even if we don’t, you will be the beneficiary of having had a meaningful Shabbat.”


As we prepare for yet another one – two feet of snow, I am suggesting that this next Shabbat, people come to shul – to cure their “cabin fever.”





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Stuart Weinblatt

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt is the President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. From 2009 - 2014 he served as Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy for the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Weinblatt is the rabbi of Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, a vibrant Conservative synagogue of 650 families he founded in 1988, along with his wife and a handful of families.