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Rosh Hashana / Yom Kippur Follow Up - Choose Life / Choose Learning

10/05/2014 07:39:50 AM

Oct5

Two of the themes we focused on over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were:

1. Making life affirming decisions. This was suggested as a spiritual response to groups that celebrate death.

“We, all of humanity have a choice to make

טו רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַחַיִּים וְאֶת-הַטּוֹב, וְאֶת-הַמָּוֶת, וְאֶת-הָרָע...  יט הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ--הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה;

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil … I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse

Life is good, death is bad. Life is a blessing, death is a curse. Today we need to remind the world of this. So, how then do you defeat death?  Moshe tells us at the end of the verse -וּבָחַרְתָּ, בַּחַיִּים--לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה, אַתָּה וְזַרְעֶךָ - "therefore choose life, that you and your children may live." (Deut. 30: 15, 19)

Choosing life means to do things that are life affirming and we can do that on a national and personal level.”

One of the suggestions I made was to register as an Organ Donor with the Halachik Organ Donor Society - HODS.

Can there be anything more life affirming that donating organs so that others may live?

Follow this link to register online.

Here is a link to the list of Rabbis who have registered. You can scroll down to see how I filled out my card.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about how to fill out the form.

2. Committing to daily Torah study, even if it is only for a few minutes. We spoke about this in context of “Picking A Side”.

Jewish learning connects us to other people - so it builds community. Jewish learning gives us confidence in our decisions.  Someone without Jewish learning under their belt will be only a spectator to Jewish life. Such a person will is not an empowered Jewish adult and will be dependent on others all of his or her life to make decisions about Jewish practice etc.

It’s amazing what even a few minutes a day can do. Most recently  after shacharit services and between mincha / maariv services in shul we have been learning the laws of Tefillin. In about 5 months, we learned all of the laws of tefillin.  Do you know what the result is? People know have a common language and understanding about tefillin. People have been asking questions about the kashrut of their tefillin.

Coming to a class on Shabbat afternoon to study Pirkei Avot offer a glimpse in to mind of our rabbinic moral and ethical tradition. Spending monday night’s this year studying the great debates of Jewish history will provide you with a passport into understanding the issues that have shaped Judaism.”

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Daily Dose of Torah. You can order a full set or a single volume at a time. Each volumes provides four weeks of Torah lessons. In just a few minutes a day you can build your Jewish knowledge base.

  2. Subscribe to the OU’s Mishna Yomit podcast. Each mishna is presented in 3-5 minutes. Before you know it you will have general knowledge in many areas of Jewish law.

  3. Read a chapter a day in A Guide to the Complex: Contemporary Halakhic Debates by Myles Brody, son Dena and Dr. Baruch Brody. With over 130 chapters covering an amazing range of Halachik issues, it’s a great way to start your daily Torah learning. You can read a review of the book here.

  4. Try Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar, by Alan Morinis. Each day offers a short lesson and an opportunity to journal one’s growth.

I urge you to take the challenge of not letting a single day go by without at least a minute or two of Torah study.

May we all be blessed with a year of Blessing and Success.

Rabbi Gelman

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Thu, November 14 2019 16 Cheshvan 5780