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02/17/2015 12:15:51 PM
- Naomi Shirel Sternberg
Message from the Rabbi 5776
10/13/2014 07:18:59 PM
One of the most famous prayers on Rosh Hashanah recited following the sounding of the Shofar during the repetition of the Mussaf, is Hayom harat olam. These words are usually translated to mean ‘Today is the day of the world’s creation’ And indeed according to tradition the creation of the world was completed on Rosh Hashanah. But upon examining the Hebrew word Harat we are directed away from the common meaning of these familiar words.
Every word in Hebrew originates from a Shoresh - a root. The shoresh of a word is typically a three letter word from which the prime meaning of the word arises. The Hebrew word Harat has its origin in the three letter root Harah (ה.ר.ה). There is another Hebrew vocable that shares the same root (ה.ר.ה) - the Hebrew word for pregnancy - Herayon.
This, of course, brings us to the a new understanding of the prayer Hayom harat olam. It does not mean, as we thought and as is so commonly translated, ‘Today is the day of the world’s creation’ but rather ‘Today is the day G-d has (figuratively) become pregnant with the world.’
This discovery in the verbiage is of significance.
Pregnancy is a long and winding process but in its basic definition it is the time during which a fetus develops inside a woman's womb. Although the gestational period is marked with extraordinary and very complex biological, chemical and physiological milestone ‘achievements’ for the developing fetus, it is, after-all, only a process of potential. No matter how miraculous, astounding and ‘sensational’ a pregnancy is, if the fetus does not make it to the proverbial ‘finish line’ it is over.
There is a beautiful lesson to learn from this.
Hayom harat olam tells us that G-d is carrying us through a spiritual gestational process. And just like a pregnant woman’s body provides the fetus with its every need through the blood supply via the placenta allowing it to reach full term, HaShem too arranges that we all have that which we need in order to reach our full capacity. But we are all potential lives living through the process of trial and error trying to get it right. G-d wants us to realize our potential so we can be born unblemished and achieve spiritual bliss and bounty.
But there’s even a greater and more important lesson to learn here. Although the existence of the fetus is an existence of potential this potential holds the promise of life! It holds the prospect of humanity! All G-d wants us on Rosh Hashanah is to recognize that we have potential. He wants us to know that we are full of prospect because once we know and deeply believe in that we will find the wherewithal to succeed.
G-d is not looking for you to atone for all your sins in one or two days. That’s impossible! and also quite a shallow, superficial and rudimentary understanding of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Who can truly say remorse has overwhelmed him to the point of complete reflection and penitence?! Who is the chosen one to pronounce I have extinguished the fires of vanity?! Who can claim to have brought forth a spiritual and emotional cleansing of every human weakness, vulnerability, negative impulse and flaw of character?! The days of Awe are not for the devout and pious only. They are not for the ‘intelligentsia..’ They were established for us, we the people, the ones dragging our knuckles and carrying our clubs.. They were declared for us. They were meant for the poor and the wealthy, the scholar and the unlettered, the religious and the uninitiated, the famous and the unknown. We all stand equal before G-d.
G-d wants only one thing of us, that we identify, acknowledge and appreciate our potential.
Potential is understanding that we’ve come a long way but not as far as we can still go. Potential is having hopefulness, confidence and optimism. A wise man once said: “Optimists and pessimists die the same way.. They just live differently.” HaShem wants to see that on Rosh Hashanah you’re an optimist with an attitude that believes in change.
Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in this world.” We can all scale the highest mountains with easy grace if we understand how great we really are and how much greater we can be. We can be in perfect rhythm with G-d. We can be in perfect rhythm with the world around us and we can be in perfect rhythm and harmony with ourselves.
How reassuring is this message of prospect and potential when we consider the words of Anna Frank: “How wonderful it is that no one needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
My wife and children join me in wishing you and your loved ones a Shanah tova umetukah and a wonderful 5776!
Message from our President, Eduardo Nicolaievsky.
10/06/2014 07:12:47 PM
MESSAGE FOR ROSH HASHANAH 5777
I want to send my best wishes to everyone in the Jewish community here at Skylake Synagogue and around the world.
According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah represents a time of personal, familiar, community retrospection
The high holidays offer moments to reflect as a community on the year that has passed and make plans for the year ahead.
I deeply admire our Rabbi Yeshurun, Board Members, Committees and Community Members for creating a better synagogue for everyone.
Let this year bring the capability to fulfill our community goals, and strengthen Judaism, Torah, Jewish tradition, camaraderie, with the work and participation of all of you. After all, lets do it for the generations to come.
Please support our Shul, renew membership applications and seat requirements on time, so we can accommodate all your needs to the best of our capacity.
Lest celebrate together, lets pray together, lets listen to the Shofar as a family, the Skylake Synagogue Family
Best wishes for a joyous Rosh Hashanah and for a new year of health, peace and happiness.
Shana Tova Umetuka