Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Simon Says, August 6, 2021

“See, this day I set before you a blessing and curse.”  This sentence begins this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh.  God will bestow a blessing over the Israelites if they follow the commandments, but God will curse the Israelites if they don’t follow the commandments.  Most of us don’t believe that God will bless the Jews if they follow the commandments or that God will curse the Jews if they don’t follow the commandments.  Witness the expulsion of the Jews from Spain or the Shoah; there were many Jews who followed the commandments who were cursed.  But, it is better to blessed and not cursed.

The commandments are there for a reason.  You want to eat shrimp? There is nothing wrong with shrimp, but not eating a shrimp is a badge of the Jewish people.  We say the Shema twice a day, because it reminds us of the whole body of the commandments.

As many rabbis say, you don’t need to dive in the deep end.  You don’t need to fulfill all the commandments at once.  You can add fulfilling the commandments one at a time, month by month, year by year.  When you fulfill the commandment incrementally, you don’t need to worry about God’s punishing you (in my opinion).  If you add the commandments you observe one at time, it will be a blessing.