Let me first express gratitude to those who were so helpful in making our High Holidays a full experience, foremost Dr. Packer for his ritual and security leadership. Along with our President Tina, his support was invaluable as was that of our little orchestra Courtney, Keith, and Stephen. Many others too numerous to identify by name were also instrumental in making the services happen.
As we begin our year with the Torah readings in Genesis, it gives us pause to consider the idea of direction and of the imperative to move forward in our lives. The sages note that the holy Torah begins with the letter Bet closed at the bottom, the top, and to the right. As such, it bids us to not dwell as much on heaven above (God’s abode) or the earth below (the afterlife) or any of the secrets of the universe. Moreover, we are to look less to the past but to focus on the future.
Some years ago, I read an article in the Wall Street journal which humorously reviewed an airline traveler headed for Oakland, CA. On the way to California, he fell asleep. Jarred by the landing he heard the announcement that they were going to head on to Auckland New Zealand which he mistakenly heard was Oakland. And so, he stayed put in his seat and fell back to sleep as the plane took off on the way to Asia. A few hours later he noticed they were flying over the water. We could imagine his surprise and of course the inconvenience it caused for it took him a day and a half and more to return to his original destination which was Oakland, California.
All of us look for direction in life, and we get confused sometimes because we’re literally asleep and at other times because we fail to hear one another offering us. We look forward to a year to which we understand well where we are heading as persons, as members of the family, and of a larger community which includes our synagogue.
Wishing all of you a wonderful year, one of new beginnings, and a journey that is both full and spiritual.
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz