Prayer Without Action is Simply Empty Noise

April 2, 2021

The narrative of Passover has many heroes and heroines. From the start of our story, we see the handmaidens, Shiphrah and Puah, disobey Pharoah and deliver Moses despite the command to kill every Hebrew newborn. We then watch Moses’ rise to leadership and read of Miriam who leads the Hebrew women on their journey out of slavery. And finally, we see heroism in Aaron, Moses’ brother, and the father of the priestly dynasty. No matter which hero or heroine you look at, the story of the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt is truly a collection of infinite small acts of human intervention underscored by repeated events of Divine intervention.

However, the story of one particular hero, Nachshon ben Aminadav, is a tale of anonymity and heroism like few others in the Torah. We know of Nachshon from the supplementary writings of the Talmud and Midrash, even though the text of the Torah provides us with no specific account of Nachshon’s heroism and bravery. Because of this, the story of Nachshon has become synonymous with the viewpoint that prayer without action is simply empty noise.

We are familiar with the infamous joke of the man who relentlessly prays every day, multiple times a day, to win the lottery. Finally, after years expressing this enduring devotion the man hears a voice that pleads with him to “please buy a ticket!”

Prayer without action is like breathing without oxygen. You can go through the motions, but it will not create the needed outcome.

At the Jewish Federation we work every day toward a vision of a bright, active, safe, and prolific Jewish community of San Antonio and beyond. Our mission is clear, our plan is concrete, and our prayers are eternal. However, it is the dedication and specific action, like Nachshon taking the first step into the Reed Sea while Moses prayed to Gd, where our staff reaches out across ideological divides, political differences, and varying levels of wealth and capacity, to fulfill our mission.

This is a very special week for a particular Jewish Federation program. A 4-year initiative, this program has shown tremendous success and acceptance across all our local San Antonio Jewish demographics. This week, we concluded our second year of the LIFE & LEGACY® project having secured over 400 planned giving gifts, totaling over $9m in potential future contributions to agencies across the San Antonio Jewish community. We encourage you to visit the LIFE & LEGACY® page on the Jewish Federation website for more information, or feel free to reach out to Beth Keough, Director of Philanthropy, who is available to answer any specific questions.

As we wrap up our holiday of hope and freedom and pray that our children and grandchildren will have a Jewish community 100 years from now, let us ask ourselves, “What actions are we taking today to realize these dreams and prayers?”. No matter how you answer that question, our Jewish Federation is…

HERE for you.

HERE for our community.

HERE for our Future.

 

Shabbat shalom,

Archive

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November 18 – Knowledge vs. Wisdom

November 11 – Here I Am

November 4 – A Fabric of Ideologies

October 28 – A Trip to Our Partnership Region

October 19 – Resetting the Journey

October 14 – The Chag

October 4 – Adjusting the Sails

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September 30 – From Learning to Teaching

September 23 – The Meaning of LIFE & LEGACY

September 16 – An Understanding Heart

September 9 – Equity vs. Equality

September 2 – Justice and Mercy

August 26 – Open! Open Your Hand

August 19 – Making Memories for Generations

August 12 – Kavanah and Kevah

August 5 – An Ethical Will

July 31 –  Communal Responsibility

July 22 – Creating New Beauty

July 15 – Dwell Apart, Together

July 8 – Consequences of Not Listening

July 1 – Two Types of Disagreements

June 24 – Hatikvah

June 17 – Rejoicing in Your Lot

June 10 – Finding Our Peace

June 3 – The Intangible Other Half 

May 27 – Be Part of the Solution

May 20 – Attainable Summits

May 13 – Standing up to Antisemitism

May 6 – Holy Relationships

April 29 – Finding Balance and Direction

April 22 – Happy Earth Day

April 15 – Humor at the Table

April 8 – The Weight of Words

April 1 – Evaluating our Spiritual Health

March 25 – Raise Your Voice

March 18 – Learning from Failing

March 11 – Being Called Out

March 4 -Ukraine Needs Our Help

February 25 – Crisis in Ukraine

February 18 – Counting Half-Shekels

February 11 – Our Jerseys

February 4 – Giving from the Heart 

January 28 – Treating Others With Kindness

January 21 – Feeling Without Experiencing

January 14 – Taking the First Step

January 7 – Seeing in the Dark

December 30 – Change Takes Time

December 23 – To Know Someone

December 17 – Multi-Generational Lessons

December 10 – Choosing Your Attitude

December 3 – Major vs Minor

November 24 – Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander

November 19 – Leaving a Legacy

November 12 – Jacob’s Ladder

November 5 – Relationships Matter

October 29 – Setting a Higher Standard

October 22 – On Being a Jew

October 15 – Blessed vs. Blessing

October 8 – Granting Trust

October 1 – Stronger Together

September 24 – REPRINT of October 9, 2020 

September 17 – Remember the days of old

September 10 – Ten Days of Teshuvah

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September 3 – Our Jewish Peoplehood

August 27 – With all thy might

August 20 – Remembering to Forget

August 13 – The Trees of the Field

August 6 – The Mission of Maintaining the Roads

July 30 – Two Ears and One Mouth

July 23 – Antisemitism From All Sides

July 16 – The Greatest Threat

July 9 – Oxymorons and Echo Chambers

July 2 – The Impact of Today’s Decisions

June 25 – Or Lagoyim: A Light Unto the Nations

June 18 – Remembering Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg z”l

June 11 – Equity, Equality, and Investing in Our Future Leaders 

June 4 – An Optimist’s Perspective

May 28 – The Gathering of Feathers

May 21 – We Must be Proactive

May 14 – Here for Israel

May 7 – Behar Behukotai

April 30 – Lessons From My Saba

April 23 – Kedushah: Rising to Holiness

April 16 – Learning Empathy from Leprosy

April 9 – Finding Our Collective Hope

April 2 – Prayer Without Action is Simply Empty Noise

March 26 – Chag Pesach…

March 19 – First They Came For…

March 12 – A Prayer for Healing

March 5 – Combatting Antisemitism

February 26 – A Story Without Supernatural Miracles

February 19 – Federation is Here

February 12 – The Three Definitions of “Shemah”

February 5 – One Nation with One Purpose

January 29 – Prayer, Action, and Perspective

January 22 – Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week

January 15- The Role of Our Tent 

January 8 – Shemot

December 31 – Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazak!

December 25 – A “Community-First” Approach

December 18 – Dreaming in Color: Dreaming & Planning for Our Community

December 11 – The Big Room

December 4 – Wrestling with Our Angels

November 25 – The People Who Give Thanks

November 20 – We are the Toldot

November 13 – Your Personal Life and Legacy

November 6 – The Value of Calm and Reflection

October 30 – We Must Come Together

October 23 – For Hope For Humanity

October 16- The Good and the Very Good 

October 9 – The True Celebration of Simhat Torah

October 2 – The Festival of Ingathering

September 25 – The Two Goats and Yom Kippur

September 18 – The 10 Days of Awe

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September 11 – Be Strong and Courageous

September 4 – Acknowledging Good

August 28 – Embracing Multiple Perspectives 

August 21 – Recalibrating in the month of Elul

August 14 – A Blessing and A Curse 

August 7 – A Good Name and A Good Reputation

July 31 – Comfort, Comfort My Nation

July 24 – Words Have Power

July 17 – Our Hope and Promise for the Future

July 10 – It Shall be for You and Your Descendants After You

July 2 – The Indescribable Bond of a Community

June 26- Jewish Wisdom from Our Community and the Torah

June 19- Milk and Honey

June 12- The Next Chapter

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