Shabbat Message 9/21/2012
Rabbi Donni Aaron, JCC Jewish Educator
September 21, 2012 5 Tishri, 5773
The fall time brings many of the Jewish holidays at once. We begin with the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), then we continue with the holiday that represents repentance and forgiveness (Yom Kippur) and then we have Sukkot, our harvest holiday that also represents the fragility of life. I have heard many people over the years, jokingly, comment about how these holidays are so scrunched together and wouldn’t it be nice if they were spread out more. Sometimes I have replied, also jokingly, that when the holidays were created, no one asked my opinion about them and if they did, I would have spread them out so it did not feel so stressful because we have to do so much in so little time.
However, tradition teaches us that everything is for a reason. Therefore, there must be a reason for having so many of our holidays in such a small time frame.
I have found one possible answer to this question of timing after I was studying Bible in Rabbinical school. We were taught that every word of the Torah is there for a reason. So when we see a word repeated twice in a row in the Torah, it is not a mistake, but rather a way to express an idea with more emphasis. We were taught to look at the meaning of the word and the context it is written is and to make sure we really understand the importance of the message.
Maybe this also holds true for our Fall Holidays and why they come one after the other. The messages are so important, that we need to pay extra special attention to them, which we are forced to do as these holidays impact our schedules and lives on every level. As our year begins, we must figure out how to make the coming year more peaceful for our families, communities and world. No small task, but if we take it a step at a time and embrace the challenge, next year at this time we will be able to reflect proudly on our year, and then embrace the challenge further for the next year.
Read previous Shabbat messages here.