As I was raised in a Yiddish speaking home, I was blessed with various colorful expressions, most of which were a little bit R-rated. This one was not! Mitn derinin! It roughly translate as “In the middle of it all!” As in you finally settle down for dinner after a long day and Mitn derinin! The phone rings and it is a long-lost cousin who just so happens to be in the neighborhood and wants to come over a visit. Or, you have just paid all your bills for the month. You breathe a sigh of relief and Mitn derinin! The car breaks down. This expression was always followed by another expression, “I need this like a lochen cup that is to say like “a hole in my head!”
At this time of writing, Yom Kippur is just a mere six days away. I am mindful of all the efforts that have been made to make possible our services, albeit remotely. Mauro (and if you will forgive a filial boast) my son Avi have been techno wizards, allowing us to do the best we can with what are incredibly difficult times of the pandemic. I also wish to acknowledge Dr. Mark Packer, Sharon, and our President who were Johnny on the Spot showing up and supporting these liturgical efforts. A big shout out does go to Lynn Strait and Nancy Rosenberg who served tirelessly as readers. (Not to forget our Shofar sounder Dr. Britanisky!) A last note goes out to Jan, our office administrator who in addition to putting up with Rabbinical gyrations and improvisations made possible the mailings, emails, and more. There are others, board members, flower providers that warrant acknowledgement and thanks. I list only a few for fear of neglecting one or more.
Mitn derinin! No sooner does Yom Kippur draw to a close, we are bid to start preparing for Sukkot. What a crazy calendar! Yet from a spiritual point of view, the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days require the balance that is Sukkot, a holiday characterized by a certain degree of melancholy coupled with gratitude for what we have. We move from the harsh imperative to repent to a degree of acceptance of our human condition. (Ecclesiastes – Kohelet tempered our existential need to change with a mood-altering view that “all is vanity, like a breath,” which fades away.
One other yin to yang of these holidays is of course the fact that we deny sustenance on Yom Kippur but indulge on Sukkot, a holiday of abundance. (I look forward to your being with us on October 9th for our Sukkot Simchat Torah Drive in dinner and celebration. See page 7) This balance is quite needed in these unbalanced times. I once took a quiz in which a young man was a crossing a bridge. He noticed a sign that forbade anyone weighing more than a hundred and fifty pounds. He weighed a fairly light one hundred and forty pounds. He was on a mission to bring to the King three valuable jewels, each of which weighed five pounds each. Oy! What did he do? He crossed bridge juggling the three jewels so that at no time he held more than two of the jewels.
I pray and hope that all of you will find balance in the days ahead, given all the challenges we face. May it be so that our heritage which has stood the test of time will bring you a sense of purpose and peace in the days ahead, health and happiness to as well!
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz, D.D.