Rabbi Lee Moore: Wrestling for a Blessing

We were delighted to host Rabbi Lee Moore as our guest rabbi during the last Shabbat of November. On Friday night, guitar in hand, Rabbi Lee led a Kabbalat Shabbat service in Leuven that was full of spirited singing and contemplative prayer. Over Torah Breakfast on Saturday morning, she offered us an introduction to the sacred wisdom of Kabbalah through a combination of ancient legends and a contemporary look at the Tree of Life.

Together we looked at some of the sephirot/elements of the Kabbalistic formulation of the Tree of Life, including Chesed, Loving-Kindness, and Gevurah, Strength or Boundaries, and discussed how these appear in our everyday life.

During the Torah Service, Rabbi Lee introduced the IJC community to a new yet ancient way of reading the Torah: with simultaneous translation from the original Hebrew to English, similar to how simultaneous translations were done in the days of the Temple from Hebrew to Aramaic, the spoken language of the time. Drawing from the plot line and lessons learned from Parshat Vayishlach, Rabbi Lee wove together the stories of Jacob's various struggles for blessings, first through the deception of his father in cahoots with his mother Rebecca, and then in our Parsha, by wrestling with an unknown man, or an angel.

For each of the Aliyot that Rabbi Lee read, she invited members of the community to come up for an Aliyah who felt drawn to the particular wisdom, struggles and blessings that correlated directly to the text she was reading. Rabbi Lee's presence made for a lively, inspiring Shabbat morning and we are grateful to have had her with us.

By Ilana Sumka