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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.


 

September 9, 2016  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Honor Thy Saturday with tangible action By Rabi Levi Hodakov Chabad Center of Clearwater

There’s a story told about one of Israel’s greatest Generals, Moshe Dayan. He was pulled over for driving 75 mph in a 40 mph speed zone. Dayan looked at the officer and said with a wry smile: “I have only one eye. Do you want me to keep it on the speedometer, or on the road?”

Like many of the readers of The Jewish Press, I spend a lot of time on the road. In addition to keeping an eye on both the speedometer and the road (and the speeders around me), I take in the occasional billboard or two that dot the highway.

Several months ago, while driving north on the US 19, I saw a wonderful ad from a distance. In big bold letters, it exclaimed “HONOR THY SATURDAY.” My mind began to race, and I started wondering which organization put up the billboard promoting the observance of Shabbat. Alas, as I got closer, I saw goal posts and information from Fox Sports about football games on Saturday. It was a bit of a letdown.

Nevertheless, the message stuck with me.

We are now in the month of Elul, the final month in the Jewish year. Traditionally, this is a time for personal introspection and stocktaking as we conclude a year and prepare for a new one.

According to the teachings of Jewish mysticism, this is a time during which the “Thirteen Attributes of Divine Mercy shine forth,” making it a most propitious time to reconnect with G-d and our fellow persons.

With the exception of Shabbat and the day before Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to blow the Shofar every day of this month. The sound of the Shofar is meant to serve as an alarm, reminding us to prepare for the new year. During this time, we are encouraged to increase in our Torah study, intensify our prayers, and give more Tzedakah (charity).

But what happens when the High Holiday season is over? Where does all the inspiration of the season go?

Jewish teachings emphasize the importance of connecting spiritual inspiration with tangible action. Hence, the custom to take upon oneself a specific resolution for the new year.

Perhaps beginning with even one Shabbat a month, make a point of truly setting the day apart in a meaningful way. Women and girls could light the candles, men can recite the Kiddush. The family can join together to eat, sing, and enjoy each other’s company, and perhaps even go to Shul together.

With all of the chaos in the world, with so much vying for our attention daily, perhaps a good idea would be to take a message from the sports billboard, and enhance the way we “Honor Our Saturday.”

On behalf of my wife, Miriam, and my entire family, I take this opportunity to wish you “Ksiva VaChasima Tova, Leshana Tova Umesuka,” may you and your loved ones be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet new year.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. The views expressed in this guest 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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