As the High Holidays approach, and we reflect upon the year past, we are in touch with the essence of our deeds, the essence of one’s soul and the essence of our relationship to and with G-d, while committing to a year anew. Read more
Tag: yom kippur
With the ending of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, the Jewish calendar focuses on the first of our three Festivals, Sukkot. The symbol of the fragile dwelling place, the sukkah, is increasingly popular. More and more people build their own and have a meal in them as is the custom.
Also beginning at this time are the powerful readings from the Book of Genesis. Perhaps no chapter in the entire Torah is more relevant to baby boomers than Genesis 3. Here is the famous Adam and Eve – Garden of Eden myth. Central to the story is God’s question to Adam and Eve (really to us) of ayecha, or “where are you’? This one question really speaks to so many of us in our stage of life. So many of us are in transition. So many of us are care-givers, juggling family, work, loved ones. So many of us, in quiet moments of reflection also ask our own self, “where am I?” The sukkah really does form a symbol of the fragility of life. We seem to be more aware of the fragility as we ourselves age. Read more
This month is a special one within the Jewish calendar. Elul begins. This is the last month of the Jewish year and in it, we are asked to slowly prepare our souls for the coming High Holidays. The pace of the month reflects the changes in the secular world. Our Jewish world picks up pace as our secular world does. Summer ends, schools begin, new program years begin. Day are noticeably shorter and with this, we are reminded of the passage of time. Soon Rosh Hoshonnah will be upon us and a new year. This is a time of reflection. Read more
Adam, the first human, was created on the 6th day. The sun shone for him throughout the entire first day, Shabbat, but he became frightened when he saw darkness encroaching at the conclusion of this first day. He feared that the world would be dark forever.
God consoled him by giving him knowledge and 2 stones; Adam struck these 2 stones together, created fire, and recited the blessing (of course) BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHEINU MELECH HA-OLAM BOREI M’OREI HA-AISH – blessed are you Adonai our God Ruler of the Universe, creator of fire- the same prayer we use in havdalah over the candle. The gift of fire, or at least the tools for fire, lit his surroundings and world, easing his transition into the dark night. It is easy to imagine how Adam felt loss over the peace and tranquility of Shabbat, and uncertain about the next moments of his existence. This first divine gift provided Adam not only with reassurance and a new tool but also helped him emotionally during a critical time. Read more
Here is one of “those” questions. How do you find meaning in the aftermath of sorrow? How do you find reason when there is none? 5770 is ending. I, for one, will not be sorry to see it go: too much sadness, too much illness, too much death.
August 2010 found me flying back to Dallas to participate in the funeral of my friend, who was my brother, Rabbi “Jake” Jackofsky. He died on the 23rd of a horrible debilitating brain disease. He was 69. We knew “how” Jake died, but, still the question kept coming back: “why”?
Once again I am floored by how close the High Holy Days are. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me as I have been working to line up Torah and Haftarah readers and many other congregants to actively participate in High Holy Day services. For our congregation of less than 250 families, we usually have at least 100 participating in leading parts of the service along with our Rabbi and Cantor. But there is something to realizing that Selichot is within 8 days and I am not ready emotionally.