June 2017 - "It is good to give thanks to God."

    “It is good to give thanks to God.”  This is the beginning of Psalm 92, which we sing both Friday evening and Saturday morning.  I have taught you my favorite melody, composed by my teacher, friend and colleague, the well-known Cantor Sol Zim, and we sing it at almost every Shabbat service.  This Psalm for Shabbat is basically one of thanksgiving and praise for God’s faithful love in caring for the world, the marvelous works of God’s hands.

    This summer we will sing it together at our monthly Friday evening “Shabbat in the Park” services.  These are always delightful events for all ages, casual, and fun.  This summer these services are on the 4th Friday – June 23, July 28, and August 25. 

    There is a Midrash (a story) that says that Adam sang this psalm with great joy after his first night on earth on the first Sabbath.  Supposedly, he had been sitting in the dark and crying, and when he saw the sun in the morning, he composed this psalm of thanksgiving.  Because of this, the psalm is recited when the Sabbath is welcomed at sunset on Friday night and again in the morning on Shabbat when the sun shines.  In the course of time, this psalm was forgotten until Moses re-introduced it with other psalms.

    In these lazy, hazy days of summer, let’s reflect on the things we have to be thankful for.  One, I can suggest, is our own Beth Samuel community.  Whether we come together to a picnic on a hot summer night or at Yom Kippur services, we have each other, our synagogue family.  When Roger Segeleon first invited me up to Ambridge, he told me, “Come and meet the people.  You will like them.”  Well, he was right!  I am grateful to you for your friendship and your faith in me as your Spiritual Leader, and I thank our Creator for opening this path to me. We go where life takes us, and I am happy it took me here.