To Surprise and to be Surprised on the High Holidays
We all like to be surprised for a good reason.
It can be a birthday, or just a demonstration of affection.But, sometimes life brings unwanted surprises.
As we prepare to celebrateanother Yom Kippur, followed by Sukkot and Simchat Torah, I remember the unpleasant
surprise of the Yom Kippur War when Israel was suddenly attacked on our holiest day of
the year.
And it happened again, when without any provocation, Hamas attacked a group
of soldiers, killing some and kidnapping two, pushing Israel to fight back. And more
surprises were awaiting Israelis when they were stabbed on the street or run down by cars
and trucks.
As in times before, we overcome the first moments of fear; we regain our strength and
move forward to victory.I believe that this is a continuing part of the Jewish story:
to overcome difficulty and adversity to reassure our continuity.
This is in the material, concrete, physical realm, but it’s also true in the moral, emotional
and the spiritual ones. As the Army needs time to prepare and plan for a successful
operation, the Torah gives us these Days of Awe to do the same thing in the spiritual field
we evaluate, we plan and collect the strength to move forward for a successful year.
As the Army conquers and takes over a hill, a city or village, we will overcome and defeat
selfishness, pettiness, jealousy and baseless hatred. Yom Kippur will prepare us to ask for forgiveness and to forgive; to give us the
understanding that compassion should take priority over competitiveness and free love over
free hatred. Then, we are ready to enter the Sukkah.If we look carefully, we will see that the beauty of the Sukkah is not in the physical
structure but in the spiritual environment that is created inside.
When we eat in the Sukkah with family and friends, we learn that home is what matters.
The bonds created by love aremore valuable than the bricks of the wall.  As terrorism shocks us and the world with death, when materialism is becoming a new
form of idolatry, let us, the Jewish people, surprise the world with a different approach.
Let’s bring light where there is darkness; respect and freedom where there is
fanaticism and fascism.  Let’s surprise the world by living a more spiritual life. Teaching
our next generation that values and ideas are more important than greed and cold
ambition. Let us surprise ourselves with a renewed Jewish focus where Torah and
fulfilling mitzvot help us to develop good character.May these holidays and our faith in G-d be a source of inspiration.
May we all be sealed in the Book of Life for a year of loving kindness, peace, and health.
Shanah Tovah and Gmar Chatimah Tovah
Hag Sameach,
Rabbi Alberto (Baruch) Zeilicovich
Copyright 2016 Rabbi's Monthly Message. Temple Beth Sholom 40-25 Fair Lawn Ave Fair Lawn NJ 07410 WWW.TBSFL.ORG - (201)797-9321
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