Shabbat Shalom: Cycles of Repetition

Feb 1, 2024 | Article

By: Jenna Raimist
Director of Annual Campaign

I’m going to let you in on a little behind-the-JEWISHcolorado-scenes secret: When the team decides who is writing which Parasha at the beginning of every year, those of us who are not Jewish educators but are willing to take a stab at examining Jewish text, don’t often choose. Rather, we get assigned a week. Or in my case, a few weeks scattered throughout the year.

As I sat to begin my writing process for this week, it dawned on me that at this time last year, I was writing a Shabbat Shalom message for the exact same Torah portion: Parashat Yitro. The text states that Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, hears how God rescued Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh’s bondage, and reunited Moses with his wife and children. Later in the text, Jethro suggests Moses implements a system for settling disputes amongst lower courts and God speaks the Ten Commandments to the people. One of these commandments is keeping the Sabbath, as God rested on the seventh day of creation.

Jewish ritual is inextricably intertwined with cycles of repetition. Shabbat comes and goes every week, as Rosh Chodesh is celebrated with each new moon. On Simchat Torah, we celebrate the conclusion of the annual cycle of Torah readings before we re-roll and do it all again. While I examined this exact text just one year ago, I find myself uncovering new meaning, just as the new week and the new month provide an opportunity to metaphorically start over or reframe. As Shabbat begins and we embark on a new month, I find comfort in the cyclical reset, and my hope is that you can do the same.

Shabbat Shalom.

Please email Jenna Raimist at with questions or comments.