We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, October 2. 2016
Letter To My Son (on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, 1831):
In the Talmud is written: "In the place where repentant sinners stand perfect saints cannot stand." The estate of the repentant sinner is even higher than that of the perfect saint. The repentant sinner had to struggle more fiercely to subdue their evil inclination.
Bird Dog alerted me to this delightful video. Among all the seriousness, we still find ways to have fun. Fun often transmits messages just as well.
A note about understanding "Shana Tovah", the traditional Jewish New Year's greeting: Literally, it means a good new year. Many, however, offer it as a happy new year. But, happiness is not an accurate measure of goodness. Further, "shana" as a verb can mean change. What we work for is to change for the better.
Repost below from 2009:
Be a light unto the world
Central to the High Holidays is Teshuvah, or return. Sincere,
Mahzor Minhag Roma (A Prayer Book of the Roman Rite), Casalmaggiore, 1486. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
If you think Teshuvah is an easy task, just consider the sins listed in the oft-repeated prayer Al Chet, as we traditionally pound our chest.We greet each other at the start of the High Holidays with L'shanah
tovah tikatev v'taihatem (or to women, L'shanah tovah tikatevi
v'taihatemi), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good
year." The inscribed refers to the Book Of Life, the judgments of G-d being sealed upon each at the close of Yom Kippur. Go back and review the sins list again, and again, and Return to the righteous path G-d desires of us and we of each other.
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Beautiful and meaningful summation of the meaning of the holidays. Thank you so much. I'll be sending this link around to friends and relatives.
Wonderful post, BK. Have always admired the old tribe --the way it has held itself together over time and troubles, the way it raises its children, its serious and humane influence. Oh yes, and the comedians --what without the comedians would we do?
Three additions to this excellent post:
1) There is a lot more joy in the Jewish calendar than solemnity - unfortunately many unaffiliated Jews only experience the High Holidays, without sticking around for Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles, a joyous weeklong harvest festival that comes just a few days after the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
2) While in Europe and North America, these holidays come as autumn falls - here in Israel these holidays come as the dry, dead heat of summer turns into heavy dew and fertile winter rain - a time of rebirth and reawakening.
This casts the task of Teshuva in a different light. Yes the word means return - not just to G-d, but to G-d's pure conception of you, to your inner soul which no bad deed can stain.
This is uncerscored by a traditional reckoning that sets Jewish New Year - which kicks off this period - as the day when Adam and Eve were created.
Similarly, the Day of Atonement coincides with the day Moses brought the second, man-made tablets down from Sinai - a symbol of forgiveness AND of the human effort involved in teshuva.
Rick, the apple and honey tradition is for their symbolism, the apple for its budding even before the tree's leaves representing the acceptance of Commandments even before reaching Israel, the honey for its sweetness representing a better, changed new year. For more:
Juice? I'm not sure I get what you are referring to. But juice is better for the kids than being allowed to drink wine. Although a drop of wine doesn't hurt and many, I included, believe it helps prevent "forbidden fruit" desires that can lead to overindulgence when they are older.
Honey! I should have realized. It is the orange bowl that threw me.
Great post Bruce. I never knew there were two forms of the greeting - all these years, I've been using the male form for my Jewish friends. Thank you for that.
L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem.
Don't sweat it Tom. Many languages, like the Romance languages, have male and female forms. -- Don't forget to report them all to the gender-discrimination police.
Ha! I was just thinking that this weekend. What do the inclusive language folks do about languages with gendered nouns?
One part of the video caused me to raise my eyebrows, though: Did that kid give the baby some honey? The prayer Neilah must also be a prayer of healing.
Ha, Johnny. Yes, honey taste for babies too, unless the parents are sugar abolitionists. -- Neilah is last fervent prayer for forgiveness. No where does it, nor the Al Chet long list of sins, mention sugar as a sin. Unless, of course, maybe one belongs to the Synagogue Of What's Happenin' Now and its version. Oy! Their list of sins must call out some progresso-pop favs.
Thanks for the clear explanations of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Bruce. You just proved once again to me that I can learn something new every day.
There is a wonderful Jewish bakery down the bayou from our house, and they make wonderful challah, which makes great hot pastrami sandwiches, the likes of which I subsisted on, along with cheese blintzes, while I was in college. My husband, who also like to think he can still learn something new at 86, has developed a passion for cheese blintzes, too.
Which is one of the reasons I married him -- an open mind and an open heart.
I didn't realize how much of the Christian tradition of Confession comes straight from Judaism.
The word "Repent," which we (Christians) use a lot, literally means Re-think (as in the French word pensee). Turn around.
This Jewish Confession is so close to the Christian confessions. Jesus must have said similar confessions in his Jewish community in the first century. I appreciate your sharing very much.
Well, Israel overcame the gloom of a year ago and survived the year in right good shape --low unemployment, high growth, strong currency --despite the Arab Spring and everything else the international left and a temporarily ascendant Chicago netherworld could sling at her.
Now, for next year.
"And for the sin which we have committed before You by obduracy."
Oy, looks like I'm in serious trouble there. This is going to be a very long period of penitence.
Shana Tovah. (Dip your apple in the honey). And may you be a light unto the world!
I always find Marianne Matthews' amused and amusing remarks about her husband to be a light unto the world.
Marianne is a luminous presence here at Maggie's, as I'm sure she is wherever she alights. But you, Buddy, also bring a wonderful light to the world! Doesn't Maggie's have a constellation of the brightest commenters!
I apologize for the saccharine comment...it's the 'dip your apple' video. It's in my head.
LOL --i think we both got 'touched' by the context of the thread. Anyhoo, they say Spinoza is coming back into interest, and that, as far as i can savvy it, is his thesis --that G_d (i'm not Jewish but in deference to the thread, so-spelled) IS in your head --that that IS the manifestation --the thought. I probably have that all wrong, but that shan't stop the blurt --
...but it's right there in 'talkin' WW3 blues',
I'll let ya be in MY dream if I can be in YOURs"
Don't be a Concretist, Jephnol!
In my youth I waxed quixotic in my dreams, though now I dream of the merely possible. Visions of pastoral settings, green pastures and still waters comfort me. A branch and a root from a tree give me a place to rest my head in a cool shade. It's a place liberated from worldly concerns where I'm safe to pursue my ruminations. By all means you are welcome in my dreams!
Sorry...reading a study on the 23rd Psalm. Written by a shepard.
from birth to death, we travel between the eternities. the introspection always yields up how pitifully little, in the great scheme of things, we our ownselves amount to, except for that fact, that we do hold apart the two eternities, and keep them from crashing into each other.
How many eternities must I endure?! Poor, poor pitiful me.