In the words of an old country song, “Everybody wants to go Heaven, but nobody wants to go now.” For all of our well-validated concerns of a dangerous world, nobody wants to go to Heaven just yet. The world seems “unformed and void, darkness over the deep,” but the verse in Genesis continues, “the spirit of God hovers over the waters.” There is light, not at the end of the tunnel, but just one verse away.
Top picks to serve during a summery Rosh HaShanah.
Special To The Jewish Week
For the first time in decades, Rosh HaShanah falls during the very early days of September, and in New York, that usually means we’re in for a hot and humid holiday. When it comes to choosing wines to serve on that first night of the New Year, the wine lover will likely find himself in a quandary: On the one hand, traditional dishes such as brisket and tongue call for full-bodied red wines; on the other hand, a glass or two of a really big wine can make the summer heat seem even more oppressive. The trick is to find wines with enough body to stand up to traditional fare, but not so much body as to make the weather seem overbearing.
I found myself consumed in the liturgy by the phrase “HaYom harat olam” (today the world is created) and with questions about the purpose of creation and of my personal existence. As we reflect on the direction of our lives between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we might ask ourselves why humans, generally as well as individually, were created.
As the recession drags on,
more people seeking free holiday services —
and more institutions are offering them.
When Rabbi Mathew Hoffman of the Jewish Flame, an outreach organization, put an advertisement in the Pennysaver magazine for his free High Holy Day services, he got an unexpected response.
“A Jewish woman called up, and said she didn’t have food to eat,” said Rabbi Hoffman, who will be leading the group’s Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services beginning next week in New Rochelle. “My wife cleaned out her freezer and got donations from a neighbor and ran right over with a care package.”
In “The Arabian Nights,” Scheherazade keeps herself alive by weaving a narrative spell: her story is so thrilling that the Sultan keeps her around to hear the next night’s continuation.
Staying alive through stories: this is part of the secret of the Jewish people. We tell our tales, day by day, night after night. On Tisha b’Av we recount the story of destruction and loss. On Passover, of liberation and triumph. On Rosh HaShanah, of creation, on Shabbat of rest. Scholars, sages, fiddlers, fools — each magic link in the chain pulls us to the next.