9/9/11 — Words of Torah — Celebrating the Installation of R’ Rick Brody @ Congregation Kol Halev

12/09/2011 at 15:22 Leave a comment




9 September 2011/10 Elul 5771


Rabbi Neil F. Blumofe


Baruch ha’bah b’sheim haShem – beirachnuchem mibeit haShem. 

Eli atah v’ode’ka, Elohai arom’mechka – hodu la’Shem ki tov, ki l’olam hasdo.


Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God – from whose house, blessing flows and lights our way.  We sing thanks to God who is good and whose love is everlasting.


In this assembly, this congregation made holy by appreciating the presence of each other, we gather and acknowledge on this Shabbat, a formal shift in identity, a different, more significant status – in the celebration of welcoming this rabbi to serve Congregation Kol Halev – you entrust Rabbi Brody to faithfully and sensitively speak, and encourage, and most importantly, to listen to the words of your community and too, to the timeless voice of our Jewish tradition.


You have each gained a partner in strengthening your mutual steps into the immediate future.  Our tradition makes lofty comparisons when speaking about the worthiness of having a rabbi lead a community – and too, our Talmud compares rabbis to malachei hashareit – ministering angels – angels which perform the daily, sacred tasks within God’s holy chamber.  These are beings who perform service and simultaneous raise the world and themselves in so doing.


Around this time, as Shabbat begins progressively around the globe, many homes and synagogues sing Shalom Aleichem – a song about these angels as one sets an intention for sacred space and time – and too, we greet each other in this familiar way – Shalom Aleichem.  Shalom, be to you – which happens to be in the plural form.  Our mystics appreciate this, writing that when you greet someone, especially on Shabbat, you are speaking to the whole person – both body and soul, simultaneously.


May I suggest that when we sing Shalom Aleichem in a synagogue – or when we greet each other with Shabbat Shalom – that we realize that we are in partnership, in conversation, with each other – may Rabbi Brody help our community realize this important sensibility.  May he act as a one of the malachei hashareit – as one of the angels of service, in bringing people together, in creating community and in strengthening bonds between the ordinariness of our lives and the majesty of who we can be.


May Congregation Kol Halev be good also to Rabbi Brody and his family – helping him continue to grow and find a calming intensity that comes with patience and perspective.  May he continue to have a wise heart that beats with generosity and love, may he find precise words in speech that help lift conversation and that shines a gentle, soft light into darker places.  May he be blessed with courage and the strength to respond to challenges with careful thought and sometimes with a necessary silence – always bringing dignity and respect to himself and to his community.  May he make decisions with compassion and kindness, bringing individuals what they need in the moment that continues to l’hagdil Torah ul’ha’adirah Torah – to raise up the banner of Torah and to give it power.


May his family be blessed and find every occasion to become closer, encouraged by the varieties of human experience that one finds in a congregation.  May Noa and Adin be raised with a love of the Jewish people and with holiness and respect on their tongues.  May Congregation Kol Halev continue to flourish and build bridges – making community, and continuing your rich history of creating individual, extraordinary paths within the beautiful gardens of our traditions.


In your character, Rabbi Brody, may you cultivate aspects of the scholar, the sage, the righteous man, and the prophet, as you seek success as the rabbi of this community and as you continue to define the mission and purpose of your own life – always welcoming in God as you find your direction.


May leading this congregation be a spiritual experience – even when speaking about budget line items – may service and volunteering be both honorable and exalted.  To Rabbi Brody I wish personally that on your climb, you trust your imagination – may you walk right out of the machinery, with your nefesh – your heart alive inside of you – and may you bring principle to your craft as you are both wide awake and now formally installed, homeward bound.


You as an angel – inspiring others to be angels.  May you have the tender, refreshing rains of God’s blessings for what you do, what you say, and how you will become.


(Shalom Aleichem Malachei haSha’aret)



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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