As Rosh Hashanah is fast approaching, the Torah reminds us in so many ways about the importance of our connection and relationship with God. But who is this God that we think of at this time of year? Is it a God that we fear and dread? Or, is it a God who we feel deeply loves us? Is it a punishing and wrathful God? Or, is it a God of mercy, warmth and compassion?
Whether or not you think of it this way, our faith is a faith of love—God’s love for each of us and the love that God expects each of us to have for our neighbor. We are in the month of Elul which the Rabbi’s say is an acronym for Ani l’Dodi v’Dodi Li—I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Rosh Hashanah is the time for us to reconnect.
If those we truly love disappoint us or hurt us, what do we do? What should we do? What would we like done to—or for—us? We would like to discuss it and explain it, wouldn’t we? Isn’t that what prayer is all about—talking with God?
We would like to have the opportunity to apologize and make commitments for change to one another, wouldn’t we? Isn’t that what Teshuvah is all about? And out of love, don’t we forgive?
The time honored tradition of Selichot among Ashkenazi Jews begins on the Saturday evening not less than 4 days before Rosh Hashanah begins. Yes, that means that tomorrow evening, September 5th is Selichot. This year all of our sister conservative congregations are coming together as a community at Congregation Beth Shalom. The Selichot Service itself begins at 11:00 p.m., but it is preceded with a 9:30 p.m. Havdalah and a 10:00 p.m. program that includes the Michigan premiere showing of the move “The Walk. The promotional flyer can be found on line at “Where Can I Find out More about the Community Selichot Service.”
This Shabbat Rabbi Shere teaches us about the theme of the red thread that was tied around the first offerings discussed in this week’s Parasha, how it relates to other red threads in the tradition and also about its connection to the mysterious U’netaneh Tokef prayer that occupies such a prominent position in our High Holiday prayers. 9:45 a.m. For a non-traditional, but beautiful rendition of the U’netaneh Tokef prayer, click on this link. It was composed by former CSZ Chazzan Meir Finkelstein. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like. Our study ends in time for what I understand will be an especially brilliant sermon.
Shabbat shalom and may this be the most wonderful year yet for you and your loved ones. L’Shanah tovah,
P.S. Watch this to get in the mood for Rosh Hashanah. Zachreinu L’chayim. Remember us for life! Or watch this: It will blow you away.
P.S.S. I am a volunteer. Adat Shalom does not ask me to send this note. This message does not go to everyone, so if you know of anyone who might enjoy Torah Study on a Shabbat morning (whether they come for all or any other part of the Shabbat experience), please forward this note to them or let me know. All are welcome. This is a group learning experience. No one should be thrown off by the phrase “Torah Study.” Our teachers are more like facilitators. These are not lectures. They are adventures. There is dialogue and exchange. This is just one of the many things Adat Shalom offers that is so fabulous and that makes me feel so at home.