Wednesday, September 12, 2007

L'Shanah Tovah 5768

"Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, commemorating the creation of Adam and Eve, the first human beings. On Rosh Hashana, the Books of Life and Death are open on the heavenly desk. On this "Day of Judgment," we each stand before God and offer our best case for being "created anew" -- i.e. granted another year of life." Rabbi Shraga Simmons

My sister Judy forwarded me an email commentary on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana. It's being going around so much nobody seems to know who originally wrote it.

Doesn't matter. It's more than a little "political." But it's true. It's relevant, especially coming so close to 9/11 this year. And it's from the heart.

We are about to begin our 5768th year on this earth! Who would have believed this possible? If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long he probably would have been astounded.

Imagine, we did this without beheading anyone on TV, without a single suicide bomber, without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic athletes, and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.

We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of wandering in the desert, the mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses; despite the best efforts of fervent Crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, Hitler's third Reich, Stalin's gulags, Arab wars of annihilation and 100 years of hateful terrorism, hundreds of hate-filled UN resolutions.

How did we Jews do it? We survived by concentrating our efforts on education, love of family, faith, hard work, helping one another and a passionate dedication to life no matter what evil befell us.

We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome it's hatreds, jealousies, violence and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual respect. We're not there yet, but we're still hopeful. And when so many of us enter our places of worship next weekend, this is what we'll pray for with all the strength in our hearts.

Best wishes for a New Year filled with health, happiness, laughter, success, joy, and kindness and may this coming year bring peace and security to Israel, to the Jewish communities in the Diaspora and to our planet. 5768 and counting.

For more information on the holiest days in Jewish life: High Holidays - Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Shofar and more

If you're Jewish and can't get to a synagogue tonight, you can hear the Shofar anyway: Symbolism of the Shofar - High Holidays with Aish.

Imagine, technology helping religion, what a world. If only we could add Peace.

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Anonymous BAS said...

Shana Tova to all.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Nikol said...

That's all fine. What, however, do you think about Obadiah Shoher's criticism pf Rosh Hashanah as aholiday that has nothing to do with New Year? Here, for example

1:02 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Nikol, I'll answer you the same as I posted at the link you so thoughtfully provided above.

I presume one of Obadiah’s goals out here in the secular world is not only to share heartfelt opinions but also to get us talking and therefore learning.

In this post, however there’s a level of unnecessary anger and crude insult that appears anti-Semitic and cruel. It makes one wonder if the sentiments are indeed heartfelt or are intended only to stir up controversy.

Hanoch says, “While I often admire the daring and the clarity of Obadiah’s thinking, I think that a little more caution is advised when it comes to the matters of religion.

On Rosh Hashana we celebrate the creation of mankind. It is not just a new year, it is a New year of humanity. According to Talmud the day man was created was the first of Tishrey. In the Torah this day is mentioned as “a day of sound of the shofar”. The Mishna states that on this day all of the humanity is judged.”

I applaud the sentiment, information and restraint of Hanoch’s reply. While I can’t compete with those learned in Talmud and Mishna here, I do know when a line has been crossed.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Goldenberg said...

You've got to be kidding? Like my father says about the alcoholic who thinks he has a problem, "If you think you're a drunk, you probably are a drunk!" If it appears anti-Semitic, it probably IS anti-Semitic.

Everyone is prejudiced towards Jews. God didn't make Jews his chosen people to be better than the rest, or favored, or to be spoiled--he "chose" the Jews to be an example -- of what life could be like when you didn't kill little children at an alter to make it rain on your crops, when you didn't treat others less than you would treat yourself for any reason. Jews traditionally and biblically were set to be an example of the highest humane intent and integrity for the whole world. No wonder the whole world hates them--it is human nature to dislike authority and greatness.

But then individual Jews don't live up to the standard anyway, so there are a lot of anti-Semitic Jews as well, as we all know.

What's really the point is that by now we enlightened worldly members of the human community should know that if a child is being tortured or starved in Darfur, then our children and by extension, we ourselves, are hurting in our own backyards. In truth we humans are all one with each other, and one with God. Who doesn't know this in his or her heart, is a victim of the rumor of separation--from each other and from the world. There is no such thing. As much as it is mind boggling that brothers and sisters who are Muslims and Jews fight each other, it is just as amazing that fellow humans the world over see differences between themselves.

That's the real lesson of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur--forgiveness, mutual understanding, and a new outlook on our existence.

Do you really think God gets upset? Do you really think he sits in judgment--He created the whole Universe, and we are his children. We just all have forgotten how great we are. It's time we all got along in order to survive.

It's happening like it or not--might as well go along for the ride.

1:07 AM  

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