May we all find the strength to treasure each precious moment to the fullest, and aspire to live to our full potential always, in all ways!
"'A Still Small Voice is Heard", Music for the High Holidays at Temple Emanuel, Newton Massachusetts.
Trancedental Meditation with "Blowing in the Wind" by
- 1. Peter Paul and Mary ,
- 2. Bob Dylan ,
- 3. Joan Baez
- Technion's Artificial Intelligence New Year wishes.
May the sound of the Shofar shatter our complacency And make us conscious of the corruptions in our lives. May the sound of the Shofar enter our hearts; For blessed is the people that hearkens to its call -
"I STOOD WITH ABRAHAM" Abba Hillel Silver (adapted – The New Mahzor, Prayer Book Press)
Socrates (469 BC – 399 BC)
Socrates was one of the first Greek philosophers to encourage both scholars and the common citizen to turn their attention from the outside world to the condition of humankind. In this view, knowledge having a bearing on human life was placed highest, all other knowledge being secondary.
Self-knowledge was considered necessary for success and inherently an essential good. A self-aware person will act completely within his capabilities to his pinnacle, while an ignorant person will flounder and encounter difficulty.
He posited that people will naturally do what is good, if they know what is right. Evil or bad actions are the result of ignorance.
"Be still and know."
Aristotle said, "Nature does nothing in vain." Therefore, it is imperative for persons to act in accordance with their nature and develop their latent talents in order to be content and complete.
Self-realization, the awareness of one's nature and the development of one's talents, is the surest path to happiness. Source
Maimonides points to the need for constant self-scrutiny, as this is the only means by which one can know if he appropriately attends to others and truly feels pity for the weak.
Thus, man needs to inspect his moral habits continually, weigh his actions, and reflect upon the state of his soul every single day.
"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
“All cognition of the All originates in death, in the fear of death".
Wisdom & Virtue: Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honors; her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
The Jew is called upon to love his fellow Jew as himself (Lev. 19:18), to love the stranger as himself (Lev. 19:33, 34), and indeed to love all of God's creatures (Avot 1:12).
The rabbis generally referred to morality by the phrase bén adam le-ḥavero ("between man and his fellow man"), which was embraced in the term Derekh Erets ("ways of the world" or right conduct).
From various expressions by some of the most authoritative rabbis it could be inferred that morality was deemed one of the central components of Judaism:
"Simon the Just said, 'The world stands on three things: Torah, Avodah ("Divine service"), and acts of Loving-Kindness'" (Avot 1:2).
Hillel said, "What is hateful to yourself do not do to your fellow man. This is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary. Go and study" (Shab. 31a).
In Judaism, the realm of morality is not restricted to deed but rather includes man's inner world of consciousness: thoughts, emotions, intentions, attitudes, motives. All are to a degree subject to man's control and qualify for moral judgment.
Thus the Bible warns-:
- against coveting (Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18),
- against hating one's brother (Lev. 19:17),
- against "hardening one's heart" (Deut. 15:9, 10),
- while the rabbis inveighed against envy, desire, and anger (Avot 2:11)
- and noted that "thinking about transgression may be worse than transgression itself" (Yoma 29a).
Only in the 16th century, however, did Judah Löw of Prague make explicit that the religious and spiritual aspects of morality do not stem merely from its being commanded by God. The connection is actually more substantive, since the most that has ever been revealed to man of God is His moral nature.
Thus, only by acting morally does man walk in the ways of God and imitate Him, thereby attaining his Divine image.
Moral action is the most direct way of cleaving to God and entering into fellowship with Him.
Cruelty and injustice distance man from God, while kindness, love, and concern for his fellow man draw man closer.
Love and fear of God are themselves based on such moral sentiments as gratitude, justice, and responsibility.
Samson Raphael Hirsch taught that "justice is the sum total of life and is the sole concept which the Torah seeks to interpret. The Torah teaches us justice towards men, justice towards plants and animals and the earth, justice towards our own body and soul, and justice towards God who created us for love so that we may become a blessing for the world."
Later Jewish thinkers who accorded a central role to morality in their philosophy of Judaism included Samuel David Luzzatto and Martin Buber.
Martin Buber taught that the love of man is connected to the love of God in yet another sense: "Every particular Thou is a glimpse through to the eternal Thou; by means of every particular Thou, the primary work addresses the eternal Thou."
"If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right."
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
- Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
- Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice.
- And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Why do we wish everyone a "Good" as well as a "Sweet" Year, and dip the apple in the honey? Because a what is good for you isn't always experienced as sweet, and What is sweet may not always be good for you.
Therefore the apple symbolizes the good year, and the honey symbolizes the sweet year, And by dipping, we are indicating our hope for a blessed "Good and Sweet" Year.
According to Judaism, morality is the bridge by which man reaches out to God. Morality is what unites man with his fellow man on the basis of values grounded in the Divine. It is the fabric out of which man weaves for himself an ethical self and society achieves its redemptive goal. Source
Biblical sensitivity to the harm as well as the good that could be done by speech was unprecedented:
- "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).
- Man must be careful not to lie, curse or slander (Lev. 19:11, 14, 16),
- Nor to receive a false report or speak evil (Ex. 23:1; Deut. 19:16-18).
The rabbis also condemned the use of flattery, hypocrisy, and obscene speech and urged the practice of clean, pleasant, and non-abusive language.
In terms of the good that could be achieved by speech, the rabbis encouraged proper greetings to all, the need to cheer people with good humor, rebuke properly, and comfort with words in times of bereavement (BB 9, Ta'an 22a).
The halakhah endowed the spoken word with legal force and in the area of vows and oaths applied the biblical teaching: "He shall not breach his word, he should do according to all that proceeds from his mouth" (Num. 30:3).
There are no things. There are only words. The Divine Words of Creation. The words become fragmented, their letters scattered. Only then are they called things; for scattered, they have no meaning. Words in exile. If so, their redemption lies in the story we tell with them. How we reorganize fragments into meaning, things into words, redefining what is real and what is not, and living life accordingly.
At the dawn of creation, G-d gave the first human being six rules to follow in order that His world be sustained.
Later, after the Great Flood, he charged Noah with one more.
So it is recounted in the Book of Genesis as interpreted by our tradition in the Talmud. There will come a time, our sages told us, that the children of the world will be prepared to return to this path. That will be the beginning of a new world, a world of wisdom and peace.
Here is a phrasing of the Creed of Noah, according to ancient tradition, with a touch of elaboration:
I, child of Noah, caretaker of our precious Planet Earth, accept upon myself the responsibility for peace and oneness in our world, as accepted by Adam and by Noah, transmitted by Moses and his people over the ages:
- 1. I will not worship anyone or anything other than the One Creator, who cares for the creatures of our world, renewing the Act of Creation at every moment in infinite wisdom, being life for each thing.
eg. (addictions, material enslavement)
- 2. I will not show disrespect for the Creator in any way.
eg. (This may be seen to include respect for the beauty and life of the Creation.)
- 3. I will not murder.
(Each human being, just as Adam and Eve, comprises an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle. Every human being that G-d has created is obliged to provide for others in need.)
- 4. I will respect the institution of marriage.
(Marriage is a most divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the Oneness of G-d and His creation. Dishonesty in marriage is an assault on that Oneness.)
- 5. I will not take that which does not rightfully belong to me.
(Deal honestly in all your business. By relying on G-d, rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.)
- 6. I will not cause needless harm to any living thing.
(At the outset of his creation, Man was the gardener in the Garden of Eden to "take care of it and protect it." At first, Man was forbidden to take the life of any animal. After the Great Flood, he was permitted to consume meat--but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.)
- 7. I will uphold courts of truth and justice in my land.
(Justice is G-d's business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.)
May the nations beat their swords into plowshares. May the wolf lie down with the lamb. May the earth fill with wisdom as waters cover the ocean floor. And may it be very soon in all of our lifetimes, sooner than we imagine.
Excerpted from a speech delivered before the 18th International Peace Conference, held in Munich in Fall of 1999=Insight and Self Reflection
ROSH HASHANA - JEWISH NEW YEAR MEDITATIONS
May the sound of the Shofar shatter our complacency And make us conscious of the corruptions in our lives. May the sound of the Shofar enter our hearts; For blessed is the people that hearkens to its call. - Hershel J. Matt
Let not habit dull your minds, nor comfort harden your hearts. Examine your deeds, look well into your soul, mend yours.
As we hear the sharp Tekiah blast, let us rouse ourselves from smugness and self-satisfaction, from callousness and self-righteousness.
Shevarim! (The broken refrain)
Listen to the staccato cry. Hear the echoes of sighing and weeping. The deprived and the distressed, the neglected and the enslaved, the bruised and the broken--all cray out for relief from their pain, for release from their torment.
As we hear the anguished wail of Shevarim, let us open our ears to the cries of the afflicted and the oppressed, and let our hearts respond with compassion and love.
Teruah! (The call to battle is sounded: Join the struggle against evil and suffering. )
Give of your bread to those who hunger; give of your strength to those who stumble; give of your time to the lonely and forsaken; heal the wounded; comfort the bereaved.
Let us hearken to the Teruah’s call to action. For in our hands, in our hearts, and in our minds Are the means for building a better world, For fulfilling the promise of peace and justice, and for hastening the day when all will hear The sound of the great Shofar of liberation.
Milton Steinberg (adapted)
The New Mahzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur compiled and edited by Rabbi Sidney Greenberg and Rabbi Jonathan D. Levine.
Father of the strong and the weak, Before You even the strongest are weak.
Purge us of the pride Which leads to self-exaltation.
Remind us that we are only human, So that we may be most human.
Keep us mindful of our littleness So that we may strive for true greatness
Help us to see how dependent we are upon You and upon one another.
May we fulfill the teaching of Your prophet: To do justice, to love mercy, And to walk humbly with our God.
There is still a long road ahead of us, in order to finish what we began to do. We shall not spend our life hunting for trivial satisfactions.
We have not survived so that we might waste our years in vulgar vanities. The universe was not created to satisfy our greed, envy, and ambition.
Love your neighbor as yourself; Bear no hatred in your heart.
The stranger who sojourns with you, Shall be as the native among you;
Hate evil and love what is good, Yea, establish justice in the land.
Give of your bread to the hungry; Bring the poor that are cast out into your house.
Let justice well up as water, And righteousness as a might stream;
May the time come soon when all the world will know That the fruit of righteousness is peace.
So may we answer the Shofar’s call by examining our ways, by admitting our failures and our transgressions, and by striving to live more nobly in the year ahead.
Al Het - Confessional Prayer (adapted)
For the sin of the hardened heart, And for the sin of the talebearing lips,
For the sin of the lustful look And for the sin of the pious mask;
For the sin of enjoying violence, And for the sin of polluting Your earth;
For the sin of debasing our speech, And for the sin of degrading Your name;
For the sin of the yes that was no, And for the sin of the promise unkept;
For all these sins, O God of forgiveness, Forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.
V’al kulam Elo-ha s’lihot, s’lah lanu, m’hal lanu, ka-per lanu.
For the sin of the covetous eye. And for the sin of the haughty head;
For the sin of the insensitive soul, And for the sin of the mocking voice;
For the sin of the clenched fist, And for the sin of the deceitful smile;
For the sin of eating too much, And for the sin of drinking too hard;
For the sin of not hearing the oppressed, And for the sin of closing our eyes;
For all these sins, O God of forgiveness, Forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.
V’al kulam Elo-ha s’lihot, s’lah lanu, m’hal lanu, ka-per lanu.
Richard Levy (adapted)
Exquisite Fruit Sculpture New Year Wishes Click link to see sculpture.
- 1. May you enjoy your apples and honey
- 2. May you find it easy to give and receive
- 3. May you know when to surrender, and do so with grace
- 4. May you remember that some people's lives are parched dry... and be grateful for the abundance in yours
- 5. May you find beauty in unexpected places
- 6. May you carry your loads with ease amid sweetness
- 7. May you learn and teach well
- 8. May you move with as much joy and ease as you can
- 9. May your home be filled with fresh air and light
- 10. May your tense and angry times be short-lived
- 11. so that you come back quickly to your comfortable ol' self
- 12. May you be startled and delighted by new beginnings
- 13. May you find your uniqueness
- 14. May you play with friends
- 15. and hear beautiful music
- 16. May you come to the surface for air when you need it
- 17. May you take exquisite care of yourself
- 18. And may everything that hurts you also be a little funny, therefore . . .
שנה טובה ומאושרת - שנת שלום, שנת אושר בריאות והצלחה, כתיבה וחתימה טובה
Happy New Year - A Year of Peace, Happiness, Health and Success, Ktiva ve'Khatima Tova and Good and Sweet Year to all!
Synagogue Seating Request Form for Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur
During the last holiday season, many individuals expressed concern over the seating arrangements in the synagogue. In order for us to place you in a seat which will best suit you, we ask you to complete the following questionnaire and return it to the synagogue office as soon as possible.
1. I would prefer to sit in the... (Check one:)
- ___ Talking section
- ___ No talking section
2. If talking, which category do you prefer?
- (Indicate order of interest:)
- ___ Stockmarket
- ___ Sports
- ___ Medicine
- ___ General gossip
- ___ Specific gossip (choose:)
- ___ The rabbi
- ___ The cantor
- ___ The cantor's voice
- ___ The cantor's significant other
- ___ Fashion news
- ___ What others are wearing
- ___ Why they look awful
- ___ Your neighbors
- ___ Your relatives
- ___ Your neighbors' relatives
- ___ Presidential Election (uh oh)
- ___ Sex (Preference:______________________
- ___ Who's cheating on/having an affair with with whom
3. Which of the following would you like to be near for free professional advice?
- ___ Doctor
- ___ Dentist
- ___ Nutritionist
- ___ Psychiatrist
- ___ Child psychiatrist
- ___ Podiatrist
- ___ Chiropractor
- ___ Stockbroker
- ___ Accountant
- ___ Lawyer
- ___ Criminal
- ___ Civil
- ___ Real estate agent
- ___ Architect
- ___ Plumber
- ___ Buyer (Specify store:______________________ )
- ___ Sexologist
- ___ Golf pro [tentative; we're still trying to find a Jewish One]
- ___ Genealogist (uh oh)
4. I want a seat located (Indicate order of priority:)
___ On the aisle
- ___ Near the exit
- ___ Near the window
- ___ In Aruba
- ___ Near the bathroom
- ___ Near my in-laws
- ___ As far away from my in-laws as possible
- ___ As far away from my ex-in-laws as possible
- ___ Near the pulpit
- ___ Near the Kiddush table
- ___ Near single men
- ___ Near available women
- ___ Where no one on the bimah can see/hear me talking during services
- ___ Where no one will notice me sleeping during services
- ___ Where I can sleep during the rabbi's sermon [additional charge]
5. (Orthodox only.) I would like a seat where:
- ___ I can see my spouse over the mechitza (the divider segregating the sexes during the prayer services)
- ___ I cannot see my spouse over the mechitza
- ___ I can see my friend's spouse over the mechitza
- ___ My spouse cannot see me looking at my friend's spouse over the mechitza (uh oh)
6. Please do not place me anywhere near the following people: (Limit of six; if you require more space, you may
7. Wish to consider joining another congregation.)
- _________________________ _________________________ *_________________________ _________________________ *_________________________ _________________________
- Your name:_________________________________