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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


August 26, 2016  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

The Holidays are right on time

By RABBI LEAH M. HERZ Director of Spriritual Care, Menorah Manor

“The Holidays are so late this year!” I have heard this statement many times over the last several weeks and smile each time someone says it.

I know exactly what they mean; it seems unusual for the High Holy Days to begin in early October. Aren’t we usually “done” by the end of September? We seem to think that the Holidays are either “early” or “late” based upon where they fall on the Gregorian calendar. But I can assure you that this is only our perception; the reality is that the Holidays fall exactly when they should!

One of the most telling signs that Rosh HaShanah is nearly upon us comes when we look at the Torah scroll and see that most of the parchment is now on the righthand aytz (wooden roller). It is more challenging to lift when the aytzim are so differently weighted. There is a sense of imbalance, and caution and focus are required to keep the Torah steady.

Perhaps as we approach the Days of Awe, we may also become aware of the parts of our lives that are a bit out of balance as well. Has the year been a good one for us? Have we fulfilled the goals we set for ourselves? Have we broadened our learning, nurtured our relationships, contributed to our community? Where have we excelled and where have we fallen short? Have we told ourselves that there just “isn’t enough time” to get it done now so we’ll have to put it on the to-do list for 5777.

At the time of this writing, we have only nine parashiot (Torah portions) remaining and less than two months before we will dance with and re-roll the Torah on Simchat Torah.

In both poetry and prose, Moses is delivering his final orations to the Children of Israel, knowing fully that he has limited time to get the message across as he will not accompany them into the Promised Land. The entire book of Deuteronomy, Devarim in the Hebrew, is a re-telling of the Israelites’ history since their redemption from Egypt. Moses recounts each journey, each battle, each law and every experience whether good, bad or ugly. He exhorts the Israelites to follow God’s commandments and to trust Joshua, into whose capable hands they are being placed. And despite having pleaded with God to allow him to cross the Jordan River and go into the Land promised to our ancestors so many years before, Moses knows that this is not to be. Nevertheless, his commitment to the People is unwavering and he counsels, cajoles and comforts them until his last breath.

As we approach these final weeks of the Hebrew year 5776 and begin our own personal “year in review,” may we gain our inspiration from our teacher Moses, completing the task with commitment, humility and strength.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the board. The views expressed in the column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.

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