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.
Tuesday night Tonight, Sunday, was the first night of the Hebrew month of Elul. This month is special in preparation for the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We search ourselves for our failings, commit to cease them, sincerely apologize to those we've harmed, and create new ways of behavior. The process is called Teshuvah, or return. This doesn't mean we have come all the way or achieved perfection, but rather we have made the sincere and real efforts to come closer to being and acting as we understand G-d desires for us.
When Moses ascended Mount Sinai for forty days to receive the Ten Commandments, G-d's Law, the Hebrews were fearful he wouldn't return and created a Golden Calf to worship and party. When Moses descended, in anger he smashed the tablets. G-d has not decided 'what to do with you,' and requires the Hebrews to abandon their former ways and corruptions of living as slaves in Egypt. G-d instructed Moses to again climb Mount Sinai to receive a replacement. Forty days later, during which time Moses asked of G-d to forgive the Hebrews' sin he was instructed that the Israelites repent of their weakness and faithfully observe certain holy days. Moses returned with the Ten Commandments and G-d's forgiveness.
The first day of Elul is the second time Moses went up on Mount Sinai, and 40-days later, when Moses returns, Yom Kippur, is when our fate is sealed based upon our acts.
It is not our sins toward G-d that most matters but our sins toward each other. A central reading during Yom Kippur is from Isaiah in which it is not our pieties that earn us G-d's favor but how we treat each other, particularly those more in need. Before our sins toward G-d can be forgiven, we must first earnestly strive for the fine balance of G-d's earthly standards of justice and mercy.
As distinct from holy days, like the Sabbath, during Elul we do not cease the work that can distract from our focus on G-d's way, or dress up to enter a sanctuary and pray our devotions as we would in entering the Lord's palace. We continue our mundane activities while our Lord is consciously invited into our fields to see how we daily live, correct and improve ourselves.
There is a famous chasidic parable that takes another riff on "the Lord is in our Fields".
The King, yearning to be close to his subjects, sets out on a tour of his kingdom. In every city, there is a grand welcoming ceremony. The high and mighty of each place sit on the dais and make speeches. The humble are pushed to the back.
But on the road between the cities.... The King can see the simple folk.
The tour is almost over, the capital can be seen in the distance. A huge coronation ceremony is being prepared for the King's return (= Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur).
The coach stops in a field, beside a spring or river. The King steps out in his plain clothes.
And unlike any other time - ANYONE, even the simplest, can approach the King.
And this is exactly what he wants.
In this month - the King is in the field. Anyone can approach him. Grace, and absolution are easy for those who draw near - who return.
Av 9, Tish'a B'av, was the night of July 19 to the stars on the night of July 20.
It primarily is a fast day to mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, but also other Jewish tragedies that occurred on this day or are commemorated on this day.
Thank you. Being Catholic and not knowing much about Judaism I have wondered about that for years and now I know. I also know now after checking Deuteronomy 12:3-12:4. in a hundred years I would not have come to that conclusion. I guess its a good thing they do not rely on broke down old truckers for those interpretations LOL.
i've always figured --without putting it into words, really, until now --that it must be something along the lines of the idea that when you name something, you're separating it from everything else that is not that name. Defining it, IOW, and thus exerting a power over it --the power of creation, really, in that the thing named did not exist as the thing named until you named it. So, to avoid such a disjunct in the natural order, really to help you avoid making assumptions of knowledge which lead to a form of self-worship, idolatry, you repeat that you understand what you do not understand, whenever you mention the thing that you realize you do not have the power to name, to define, to categorize, identify, understand, corral, control.
At any rate, whatever it is, it's comforting that humanity's oldest continuing sorting method is after all these thousands of years still teaching the same time-tested multiplexed simple/complex self-reveals that it started with.
Thus the past regards the present --and exposes the 'new' for better or worse. It's always in every age the people who keep coming up with 'new' --new age, new world order, new man, new progressive, new understanding of god, history, religion, economics, family life, love, respect, human virtue and vice, sin, and right and wrong, new all that et cetera, those are always the people who do not like the old religion, or the people who maintain it.