Reflections for the High Holidays
August 30, 2019
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah is the New Year and Yom Kippur ,ten days later ,is the day of Atonement. This is a time of T’shuvah, repentance or literally “returning”.
This is the season when we as Jews, stand together before G-d and examine our lives in our past, present and future. Where did we succeed last year? Where did we fail.
We plead not for our innocence but our all-to-frequent guilt. Yet despite the solemnity of this drama ,its ultimate message is one of hope and divine forgiveness. We atone for our individual and communal sins committed over the course of the previous year. G-d’s rule over humanity and our need to serve G-d are stressed time and again over the course of this holiday.
During this High Holiday season, Jews all over the world will be entering synagogues, broken in spirit ,only to leave renewed and rededicated to making the world a better place.
As we begin this New Year 5780 , let us prayer a year of health ,happiness and prosperity for all our members and their dear families .To all members of our armed forces, may the Almighty watch over them and reunite them safe and sound with their dear families.
On behalf of my dear wife Norma, our dear children and grandchildren, we wish all our members and your dear families a Healthy and Happy New Year. May all of you be inscribed in the Book of Life.
The Bright Message Chanukka
December 9, 2019
“וּבָרְכֵנוּ אָבִינוּ, כֻּלָּנוּ כְאֶחָד בְּאוֹר פָּנֶיךָ
“Bless Us, Our Father,
United in the Light of Your Countenance”
(From the Daily Prayer Book)
When one performs a good deed, one experiences a physiological elation. It was in Modi’in where a small family motivated an uplifting spiritual revolution for the sake of preserving the pure ethical and morals of a unique nation, the People of Israel.
Modi’in, Israel, was the place of origin of the Maccabees-מכבים, the family who started and led the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid rule over Judea and the Hellenisation of its Jewish population. The Maccabees eventually formed the Hasmonean-חשמונאים dynasty that ruled Judea in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE. The battle for the preservation of Judaism, under extreme difficulties, was a great achievement for the Maccabees. The pure light of the Torah was re-kindled. Specifically, pure olive oil was used to light the Menorah, as was always performed in the Holy Temple-בית המקדש. Olive oil produces the purest light, a reminder of our responsibility to strive for pure achievements on a daily basis.
Our generation is indeed blessed with incredible blessings and opportunities to continue in the path of the Maccabees. Just visit the city of Modi’in and you will understand. Today, Modi’in is becoming one of the fastest growing and largest modern city in Israel, located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
“וֶהֱבִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר-יָרְשׁוּ אֲבֹתֶיךָ–וִירִשְׁתָּהּ; וְהֵיטִבְךָ וְהִרְבְּךָ, מֵאֲבֹתֶיךָ”
“The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then He will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors!”
(Deuteronomy 30, v. 5).
By dedicating (Chanukka–חנוכה) our daily lives to be partners with G-d to make our world better, may G-d bless us with unity and peace.
With blessings, a happy Chanukka to all.
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
National shomrim Chaplain