The wonders of the High Holy Day Season

Posted on Sep 1, 2016 in Rabbi's Messages

A Chasidic teaching states “Just as the hand, held before the eye, can hide the tallest mountain, so the routine of everyday life can keep us from seeing the vast radiance and the secret wonders that fill the world.”

It’s so easy when we are busy to miss the radiance and wonder in the world around us.   Most of us are just trying to get by, finish the next chore, face the next challenge, and then we collapse in exhaustion at the end of another day.  However, if we can manage to slow down; maybe we can think, feel, pray, and live.  By shifting our focus away, even momentarily, from our tasks,  perhaps we might see the beauty in nature, the kindness of others, and the love of family.  The High Holy Day period, beginning with Selichot, can offer an opportunity to move beyond the ordinary into a realm of radiance, beauty, wonder, and meaning.  To be sure there is gravity to this time of reflection but there is also an opportunity to sense our place in this world and to appreciate how special each and every day is to us.

Our Selichot program this year is on Saturday night, Sept 24 beginning at 6:15 p.m.  We will view the movie Groundhog Day and discuss how we can learn from our mistakes.  Immediately afterwards, we will have Havdalah under the stars and then experience a moving candlelit service starting at 9:00 p.m. (yes, we moved it one hour earlier.  No excuse not to come!) A highlight of our service will feature the melodic voices of our choir in the sanctuary. Selichot at TBD always sets the stage for a moving High Holy Day Season.

Of special interest this year will be our second day Rosh Hashanah service with Congregation Bnai Tzedek at the Huntington Beach Pier on Tuesday, October 4 beginning at 10:30 a.m.  Invite your neighbors and friends to this interactive Rosh Hashanah service. There is no cost.  Dress to be outdoors!

Once Yom Kippur is over, we hope to see you in our beautiful, one of a kind sukkah.   I promise you no other synagogue has a sukkah like ours.  This one was specially designed for our Temple and the men of our brotherhood put it up every year.  Come to the first night of Sukkot on Sunday night, October 16, study in it on Shabbat morning, or pack a picnic lunch or dinner and dine in it during the week. It’s a mitzvah to eat, study, and even sleep in a sukkah. What a wonderful way to remember the Israelites’ trek in the desert and the beauty of our world.

Wait, wait! There’s even more joy with Simchat Torah.  We have a brief worship service followed by dancing with the Torahs to live music.  It is so uplifting!  Simchat Torah is on Sunday night, October 23 at 7:00 p.m.

The holidays of this season give us an opportunity to remove barriers that prevent us from seeing the wonder of our world and the radiance of our lives.  May this season be meaningful for you and your loved ones and as always, we pray for a sweet new year to come.