Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – December 31, 2021-January 1, 2022 (27 Tevet 5782)

Dec 31, 2021 – Jan 1, 2022                                                                                       Shabbat Va’era
27 Tevet 5782                                                                                Shabbat Mevarkhim haChodesh


Jews celebrate a new year four times during the year; however, January 1 is not one of those times. In Israel, December 31 and January 1 are regular work days.

The first new year is Passover, which falls in the month of Nissan, when we taste the sweetness of freedom from generations of slavery. The second new year is Rosh Hashanah, in the month of Tishrei, as the harvest season ends and a new one begins. The third new year is in January/February, when we celebrate Tu BiShvat, the new year for the trees. The timing coincides with the almond blossoms blooming in Jerusalem. The fourth new year falls on the first of the month of Elul, the month that precedes Rosh Hashanah. The timing is linked to the cattle tithe.

Each new year on the Jewish calendar marks and celebrates a different cycle of time. Each one of the four reminds us that we are not in control of time; rather, that time ebbs and flows all around us. With each new year, we have the opportunity to notice and embrace moments in nature and history. We elevate the occasions with the words: Ki va mo’ed – for the season has arrived. My colleague Rabbi Rachael Bregman writes that with four new year celebrations, Jewish tradition conveys the message that we don’t have to wait an entire year’s cycle to start something new. Any day can be the day on which we begin to make the world a better place.


Shabbat Mevarkhim HaChodesh
This Shabbat we bless the new month of Sh’vat, which will begin next Sunday night and Monday.

Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960 or in the Synagogue

(Masks and silent cell phones, please)

Shabbat services will be led by Cantor Sue Deutsch

Friday at 4:15 PM:         Shabbat Evening Service followed by Blessings in Dining Room

Saturday at 10:00 AMShabbat Morning Service followed by Blessings in Dining Room


Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 4:35 PM

Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 5:34 PM


Shabbat Shalom                                                                                               Rabbi Sherman