Torah for Today
Anat Katzir, Kol Dorot Educator
When we look for inspiration in our Jewish text, we look for the ancient wisdom to direct us in what can be considered “good” or “righteous." What should we be doing to be the best humans, the best society? There are many places in our text that give us different rules and regulations and share the expectation that God has of us as people and as Jews.
One of my favorites is a very short phrase, only one verse from the book of Micah, that for me, contains a beautiful and simple guide to what is expected of us in this world with three basic instructions: Do Justice, Love Goodness, and Walk Modestly with God.
This instructions carry within them entire philosophies of how we should treat others and aim our emotions and our actions. While these instructions seem short and simple, our Sages had a clearer understanding of “Doing Justice,” as they had a set of mitzvot, rules that they knew to follow. And while they continued to debate the exact nature of “goodness," they related to the idea of internal goodness and kindness. But “walking modestly with God” had many different interpretations- from humility of knowing the limits of man vs. God- “know before whom you stand”, modesty in how we speak to other people never feeling superior to any other person, and internally- reminding ourselves of our limitations and limited knowledge. One of the first “Hebrew speaking” schools that existed in Palestine- before Israel became a state, chose their motto to be “והצנע לכת”- “carry yourself with modesty." In a very “secular Zionist” move, they removed God from the phrase, but kept the biblical reference. Their educational philosophy was that there is so much knowledge that one must be aware of how much they do not yet know and seek to learn more. Being an educator that wants to instill a love of life-long learning, I very much relate to that concept.
The verse, as a whole, feels very relevant to me as we look around for positive leadership in the face of all that our country and society are facing, and I also felt that this verse was one that I wanted to introduce and dedicate to Rabbi Widzer in honor of his last week with Kol Dorot. Before I even started working with him at Beth El, our first opportunity to meet and talk was about educational philosophies and within moments, I felt that we had connected over our vision of Jewish education and love of learning. As I look at the entirety of the verse from Micah, Rabbi Widzer is a leader that truly embodies every part of it. Thank you Rabbi Widzer for sharing your messages and teachings of justice, your kindness and good heart, your love of learning and your rare gift of humility. Good luck and great success as you continue to walk modestly with God toward your next role.
This Friday, June 12th, at 7:30pm, please join us for a special Shabbat service to honor and thank Rabbi Widzer, as he concludes his service at Kol Dorot. Zoom details will be sent later this week.
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Rabbi David and Patsy Tribute Boards
Please join us in honoring the years of service and dedication Rabbi Widzer and Patsy Deonandan have provided our community and in celebrating the next chapter of their lives.
We invite you to share your best wishes for them virtually through our Tribute Boards, where you can upload videos, photos, and notes that express wonderful memories and congratulations. Simply click on the link to each Tribute Board below and follow the instructions.
Rabbi David Widzer Tribute Board