From the Rabbi


Where is the boundary between enthusiasm and zealotry? Passionate enthusi- asm is expressed by embracing and loving life which, by the way, is a great mitz- vah (commandment). Zealotry, on the other hand, is an excess of passion. Passion is a lover; zeal is a stalker. Passion tries to persuade; zealotry converts by the sword. Our Sages in Pirke Avot derived that it is a sign of intellectual cowardice to destroy those who cannot be persuaded by reason. It is the mark of a zealot. The ends do not justify means of violence. The Torah emphasizes that the rule of law is the way to create a just and peaceful society. AND enthusiasm is a good thing! We need not to lose ourselves in despondency or helplessness in these difficult times. We must keep a passion for life in our minds and hearts. I found this great question- naire checklist to help guide us to a new or renewed level of enthusiasm as we begin this new year 5778:
1. What are you enthusiastic about?
2. In what situations in the past have you felt great enthusiasm?
3. Is enthusiasm contagious?
4. What can you learn from the enthusiasm of others?
5. How do you react when others are enthusiastic toward you?
6. How would you gain if you were more enthusiastic?
5. Does gaining knowledge or doing acts of tzedakah ignite enthusiasm in you?
If you are looking for a place to start raising your enthusiasm IQ let me suggest be- ginning with acts of tzedakah regarding the victims of Hurricane Harvey. I know there are many efforts local, national and world-wide. Here are just a few places to get you started-JFNA, Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, USCJ’s Disaster Re- lief Fund and Nechama (a volunteer organization that provides hands on response and recovery services nationwide).
Shana Tovah and as we pray the the health and welfare of those affected by Hurri- cane Harvey, may it be a sweet and truly wonderful year ahead for all!

Rhonda Nebel