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.
Rosh Hashana Basic Prep
August 29, 2019
The month of Elul (אלול) marks the period of time when Moses (משה רבינו) was given permission to come up to Mt. Sinai as a sign of forgiveness for the sin of the Golden Calf. For the next 40 days until Yom Kippur Moses wrote the entire Torah again. When he came down from the mountain it was Yom Kippur, and an official proclamation day of atonement. Elul has become a month to re-connect with G-d and a time to correct and/ improve our moral and ethical conduct. One of the basic foundations of Judaism is to be supportive of each other. In that sense one becomes an extension of G-d. We live by the dictum of “I am my brother’s keeper.” One is obligated to help his/her community with one’s own particular abilities.
” הִלֵּל אוֹמֵר, אַל תִּפְרוֹשׁ מִן הַצִּבּור”.
“Hillel says: Do not separate from your community.” (Pirkey About, ch. 2, Mishna 4.)
Get involved and help others as best as you can. Its a great feeling. Networking is highly recommended. It is also extremely important that you develop a close friendship with another person to share your personal concern when you need direction and support in times of need. Isolation from society can lead to depression and regrettably, the lack of motivation to continue to reap the blessings of life. A important lesson from Proverbs (משלי):
“דְּאָגָה בְלֶב-אִישׁ יַשְׁחֶנָּה; וְדָבָר טוֹב יְשַׂמְּחֶנָּה.”
“Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12, v. 25)
The synagogue is a great resource for networking, socializing, and support when needed.
The famous acronym for the month of ELUL describes its goal preceding the High Holy Days:
“אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי” (שיר השירים ו, ג)
“I’m for my beloved and my beloved is for me.” (Song of Songs, ch 6, v 3).
G-d created a wonderful universe. Let each one appreciate His blessings by helping those who are in need.
May G-d bless us with the forthcoming year 5780.
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
National shomrim Chaplain