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, November 12, 2021

Jacob had four wives, and the forecast was twelve sons, three for every wife.  Leah bore three sons and bore a fourth, Judah.  The Torah portion says, “This time I will the praise the Lord.  Therefore, she named Judah.”  The name Judah, comprised of yud-heh-vov-daled-heh, literally means “thanks,” but it also has the letters of the tetragrammaton.

And this is from Tractate Berachot:  and Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: from the day the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world, no one thanked the Holy One, Blessed be He, until Leah came and thanked Him, as it is stated: “and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and she said, ‘This time I will give thanks to God,’ and thus he was called Judah.”  (Genesis 29:35).

I am not a scholar, and I hesitate to quibble with the Talmudic rabbis, but in the beginning of the Torah portion, Jacob dreamt of a ladder going to heaven and angels descending and ascending that ladder.  When Jacob wakes up, he vows that if God protects him, Jacob will make God his God, and everything that God gives Jacob, Jacob will set aside a tenth for God.  That sounds a lot like a declaration of thanks.

Leah’s and Jacob’s actions to thank God shows that you don’t want to consider acts of gratitude for granted.