Sunday, September 09, 2018

5779 Stepping Onto The Plate, May You Never Be Alone...

Cross-posted on Shiloh Musings.

For those of you waiting for my annual Fruit Head to greet the New Jewish Year, here he/she is! A few decades ago, during my quarter century, yes, 25 years, as a vegetarian, I adapted our Rosh Hashana table to the reality that nobody in the family wanted to eat a fish head, or even look at one. So, since then I've decorated a fruit, usually an apple, in honor of the New Jewish Year.

I bless you with a year of comfortable companionship. May you never be alone.

The 5779 Fruit Head is joined by a רימון rimon, pomegranate, one of the fruits which has much spiritual significance in Judaism, read 9 Jewish Things About Pomegranates.

One of the principles of Judaism is that Gd is all over, not just in the synagogue, not just when you're praying or remembering Him. Judaism is a "full-time" religion, and we don't need an intermediary to pray to Gd. Gd also sees us all the time, what we do and what we think. We can't hide from Gd.

At the same time, Judaism is divided between the קודש וחול Kodesh v'Chol, the Holy/Gd and Ordinary People/things/everyday. That's why in Judaism it's not considered enough to just pray to Gd, even saying all the words ourselves, it's preferable to pray with a proper minyan, ten men prayer group, with a leader.

Judaism isn't a solitary religion; it's a community. We need other people, other Jews. We need family, even when the family isn't all biologically and legally related. We need the support of other people, and we must help and support in turn. Yes, there is a time when we give and when we receive. That concept is repeated in the book of קהלת Kohelet, Ecclesiastes.

Last week when I led our pre-High Holiday book club discussion on  קהלת Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, I asked if anyone knew why the writer, the son of King David, generally believed to be King Solomon, gave himself the name קהלת Kohelet. We couldn't think of a reason.

Maybe we're supposed to see ourselves as part of a long, complex Jewish History of Jewish People. There are repetitive cycles and lessons to be learned, and that is what King Solomon who is described in the Tanach/Bible as very wise is trying to tell us in קהלת Kohelet, Ecclesiastes. We are a very unique community קהל Kahal from the same linguistic root as קהלת Kohelet.

To survive we need both ordinary people and Gd. Even when things look bad, they are just part of the normal cycle, and we mustn't allow ourselves to wallow in depression. Reach out to others, humans and Gd. Don't be alone.

שנה טובה ומתוקה
גמר חתימה טובה

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