| U’vacharta ba’chayim, חיים l’ ma’an tichyeh atah v’zarecha. Choose life, that you and your descendants may live! (Deuteronomy 30:19) |
Today we Sound the Shofar to remember 9/11, and those who perished on that fateful day 18 years ago. On Shabbat, we will Sound the Shofar to fulfill God’s commandment to us to “choose life” and acknowledge that life must go on. September Eleven, Two Thousand and One – today, we are commemorating 18 years since that AWFUL day in our American history. Today I am praying for comfort and healing for everyone who lost loved ones 18 years ago. Eighteen years ago, the world of many collapsed and shattered into ash and millions of pieces. 18 Is “Chai” in Hebrew letters: it spells out חי the Hebrew word for “life” in our ancient tradition.
Today we are commanded to remember, to carry on, and live our lives. Today we must help those who lost family members, and friends, and colleagues – to get through the day. Today, we must all raise our flags to ½ mast, to remind others to raise their flags too, and to cherish “life.”
So today, right now, please go outside and raise your American flag.
Today it is also the 11th Day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul is the final month in the Jewish calendar. It is a month that connects the past year (5779) with this new coming year (5780). It is also a time when we reflect on where we stand and where we want to go. Elul is known for being “the month of Charata חרטה Remorse,״ the month of Rachamim, רחמים Mercy,” and “the month of Slicha סליחה, forgiveness.” It is an opportunity for “Teshuvah תשובה Repentance.” The Month of Elul is a month of preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is why Jews around the world blow the Shofar every day of the month, traditionally right after morning services, when everyone is still together. Today I shall blow the Shofar as soon as I raise my flag to half-mast, and I hope that you blow your own Shofar, next to your American flag.
This weekend, I invite everyone to two very special events at Temple Beth Tikvah. These are opportunities to come together as one community to celebrate life, Shabbat, and prepare spiritually and emotionally for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, our High Holidays.
|Friday evening, 9/13 at 6:00 pm– |
Please join us for Shabbat Under the Stars – we will welcome Shabbat and the Month of Elul outdoors with the lighting of candles and the sound of Shofar, prayer, and song. Immediately following the service – please bring your own dinner, and a dessert to share!
|Saturday Morning 9/14 at 10:00 am- |
We will continue with our Shabbat celebration. Immediately following Shabbat Morning Minyan (including Torah reading, and a short Dvar Torah about this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Ki Tetzeh) – we will continue with light refreshments, Coffee, Tea & Torah, and study together elements related to our High Holidays. We will explore how to prepare emotionally and spiritually for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
I will blast the Shofar, as we end this special week and Shabbat day so we may continue on our way. It should be a time to reflect and get even deeper into our own souls while engaging in “Cheshbon Ha’Nefesh,” which translates as “an account of the soul.” It is a process of self-assessment and introspection with regard to one’s Divine Way of Being.
Please bring your own Shofar for both Friday and Saturday: and let’s all welcome together this meaningful time in our Jewish life.
U’vacharta Ba’Chayim: Blessed are you Adonai our God, who sanctified us and commanded us to choose “Life.”
Your loving Rabbi Meeka