From Reb Moshe
April 1st, 2014 | Thoughts From the Rabbis
Dear Haverim and Haverot,
Spring has finally sprung. It’s been a tough winter and our observance of the Festival of Spring two weeks ago has hopefully sealed the deal.
We are blessed, as Jewish-Americans, to share many holidays with our neighbors. Our Jewish calendar, however, goes beyond national boundaries and unites Jews wherever they find themselves. This consciousness is what brings our attention to what we are grateful for: the change of seasons, our ongoing spiritual development as we encounter the same holidays again and again, and seeing the growth of our children as the years pass by.
This awareness of the cycles of the day, month and year, the passing of our most valuable commodity, time, is the essence of Jewish life. The acknowledgement of all that we experience as gifts and as vehicles for the expression of our gratitude derives from this awareness. Our Jewish sense of time offers daily opportunities to observe night changing to day and then again to night. It offers us a path from the everyday to the special every Friday night and Shabbat day. It guides us to the heavens as we see the moon waning and waxing, as we celebrate new beginnings. It invokes deep reveries of seasons. It provides avenues to express our emotions of loss or exaltation, as well as opportunities for mockery and mirth.
Our calendar is a constant hub around which we revolve. Calendar consciousness as a vehicle for spiritual growth is dear to my heart. I invite you to contact me to establish a group who will come together to delve into the depths of the Jewish calendar cycle from both the psychological and spiritual aspects, from both our heads and our hearts. A date for such a meeting at the end of May, as preparation for Shavuot, will be set aside if this invitation evinces a response from you.
May and June are filled with many opportunities for both celebration and commemoration. Over the last 65 years three new days of remembrance and celebration have entered the Jewish calendar. This year Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Shoah) is April 28. Greater Boston’s commemoration will take place Sunday, May 4 at Faneuil Hall, 10:30 am. Bring your kids.
Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers (Yom haZikaron) begins the evening of May 4 and is followed immediately by Israel Independence Day (Yom haAtzmaut) the evening of May 5. Since 1967 some celebrate the re-unification of Jerusalem (Yom Yerushalayim), which this year is on May 28. The worldwide Jewish community has incorporated these events into their yearly calendar cycle.
On the evening of June 5, Shavuot, the final of the three pilgrimage festivals, ends the joyous 49 days of omer offerings. It is the time of the presentation of the First Fruits (bikkurim) of summer at the Temple (Beyt Hamikdash), as well as the day of the giving of the Torah (matan torah) on Sinai. Brookline Jews will be joining together, as we have done over the last years, with a community wide evening of study, Tikkun Leyl Shavuot. The tikkun will conclude with sunrise services. TBZ will hold its Shavuot services, including Yizkor, on June 6 at 10 am
The TBZ community will also be celebrating our generational continuity –our walking together towards the future- at our Annual Spring Kiddush Fundraiser, May 31st. Make sure you mark it in your calendar. Your invites are on the way, or may have arrived, at your homes. That special event highlights our awareness of the cycles of our lives as we move from generation to generation. Honor our community with your generosity (it is a fundraiser!) and your presence. We can’t do it without you.
Let us be blessed with many years of health, happiness and opportunities to celebrate together the precious passing of time.
We have been granted life, we have been sustained and enabled to reach this present moment.
She-hekhi-yanu vi-ki-yemanu ve-higi-anu lazman hazeh.