Blog

115http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2012/10/Rabbi-Lyon%27s-Blog---10_05_2012
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 10_05_2012
10/05/2012 02:27 PM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
October 5, 2012

 

                Simchat Torah will be celebrated this Sunday evening. It’s a joyous holiday that finally concludes the whole season of the High Holydays. Following Yom Kippur, when the Gates of Repentance close as the Neilah (concluding) service ends, our rabbis teach that there is still time for repentance. The proverbial gates are not yet locked up tight. I’ve always believed that this is a great symbol of God’s compassion. It reflects God’s unconditional love of our people. Of course, there has to be a boundary, but it serves the covenant we make with God, by giving everyone the time they need to enter the Gates.

                On Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the gates are finally closed. We celebrate the ending of the Torah reading cycle with the last words of Deuteronomy, and the beginning of the Torah reading cycle with the first few words of Genesis. As we reach the end, we take note of the last letter of Torah. It’s a “Lamed.” And, as we open to the Book of Genesis, we take note of the first letter of Torah. It’s a “Bet.” When the letters are joined, from end to beginning, we form the word, “L-B”, or Lev (bet becomes vet), which means Heart.

                Our rabbis teach that Torah is at the heart of our people, and like the human heart which beats inside us and gives us life, the Torah beats within the Jewish people and sustains us. The heart is not about love and emotions. To our rabbis, the heart is about wisdom and sincerity. To do something “with all our heart,” is the point. We also learn, “Eretz Yisrael b’li Torah, hi k’guf b’li neshama,” The Land of Israel without Torah, is like a body without a soul. The heart and soul of our people is Torah.

                By way of a restricted definition, Torah is only the Five Books of Moses (Genesis through Deuterononmy). By way of a general definition, Torah is much more. Torah is anything that teaches Judaism. Therefore, Talmud is Torah, Shulchan Oruch is Torah, our mitzvot are Torah, and a good Jewish book might be Torah. It all comes back to sources in Torah, because Torah is not, by definition “law”; rather, Torah is a teaching.

                On Simchat Torah, we celebrate the privilege and honor that it is to begin reading our sacred teachings again. Over the years, students have asked me, “Do we have to read them all over again?” The answer is that the teachings are the same, but we have changed. In the course of our lifetime, we’ll read the great lessons differently as we bring our experiences to them and look for new insights. Torah is a living teaching. It lives with us. It inspires us. Our ancestors’ promise at Mount Sinai, was to teach Torah and to live by it. And, so we do.

                In the Gordon Chapel on Sunday evening, October 7th, at 6:30pm, we’ll celebrate with adults, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to honor Torah and our tradition. There will be music, special prayers, readings from the end and beginning of Torah, and flags and fun for everyone. The heart of our people and our faith is found within the texts of Torah. As we mark this time, we will say together, “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazeik,” Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen each other.

                From my family to yours, Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameiach, a happy holiday.

 

                Yizkor will be observed on Monday, 10:30am, in the Gordon Chapel

Blog Search

Categories

Archives

201806June2
June 2018 (2)
201805May3
May 2018 (3)
201804April4
April 2018 (4)
201803March5
March 2018 (5)
201802February4
February 2018 (4)
201801January4
January 2018 (4)
201712December4
December 2017 (4)
201711November2
November 2017 (2)
201710October2
October 2017 (2)
201708August3
August 2017 (3)
201707July4
July 2017 (4)
201706June4
June 2017 (4)
201705May2
May 2017 (2)
201704April3
April 2017 (3)
201703March4
March 2017 (4)
201702February3
February 2017 (3)
201701January3
January 2017 (3)
201612December4
December 2016 (4)
201611November3
November 2016 (3)
201610October3
October 2016 (3)
201609September4
September 2016 (4)
201608August2
August 2016 (2)
201607July5
July 2016 (5)
201606June2
June 2016 (2)
201605May3
May 2016 (3)
201604April4
April 2016 (4)
201603March3
March 2016 (3)
201602February2
February 2016 (2)
201601January4
January 2016 (4)
201512December4
December 2015 (4)
201511November3
November 2015 (3)
201510October2
October 2015 (2)
201509September2
September 2015 (2)
201508August4
August 2015 (4)
201507July5
July 2015 (5)
201506June4
June 2015 (4)
201505May2
May 2015 (2)
201504April5
April 2015 (5)
201503March3
March 2015 (3)
201502February4
February 2015 (4)
201501January4
January 2015 (4)
201412December3
December 2014 (3)
201411November3
November 2014 (3)
201410October4
October 2014 (4)
201409September2
September 2014 (2)
201408August3
August 2014 (3)
201407July3
July 2014 (3)
201406June3
June 2014 (3)
201405May3
May 2014 (3)
201404April4
April 2014 (4)
201403March3
March 2014 (3)
201402February4
February 2014 (4)
201401January5
January 2014 (5)
201312December3
December 2013 (3)
201311November3
November 2013 (3)
201310October4
October 2013 (4)
201309September2
September 2013 (2)
201308August5
August 2013 (5)
201307July4
July 2013 (4)
201306June4
June 2013 (4)
201305May5
May 2013 (5)
201304April4
April 2013 (4)
201303March4
March 2013 (4)
201302February4
February 2013 (4)
201301January5
January 2013 (5)
201212December4
December 2012 (4)
201211November5
November 2012 (5)
201210October4
October 2012 (4)
201209September2
September 2012 (2)
201208August5
August 2012 (5)
201207July4
July 2012 (4)
201206June3
June 2012 (3)
201205May5
May 2012 (5)
201204April4
April 2012 (4)
201203March5
March 2012 (5)
201202February4
February 2012 (4)
201201January4
January 2012 (4)
201112December5
December 2011 (5)
201111November3
November 2011 (3)
201110October3
October 2011 (3)
201109September4
September 2011 (4)
201108August4
August 2011 (4)
201107July3
July 2011 (3)
201106June4
June 2011 (4)
201105May4
May 2011 (4)
201104April4
April 2011 (4)
201103March5
March 2011 (5)
201102February4
February 2011 (4)
201101January4
January 2011 (4)
201012December5
December 2010 (5)
201011November4
November 2010 (4)
201010October5
October 2010 (5)
201009September2
September 2010 (2)
201008August2
August 2010 (2)
201006June3
June 2010 (3)
201005May5
May 2010 (5)
201004April3
April 2010 (3)
Captavi QixSuite™ - Hosted Marketing Automation Software ©