Thursday, October 2, 2014

Looking at The Jewish Calendar, Weeks of Wining, Dining, Fast and Prayers

I was just getting ready for another political post, but then I caught myself and said "No!"

Here we are in the Jewish Month of Tishrei, just a week after Rosh Hashannah which heralded the new year, 5775. Tomorrow night we'll begin the Yom Kippur fast and marathon of prayers to G-d, admitting our sins, promising to be better and begging forgiveness.

There's something very special and simple in Jewish Prayer. It's use of the plural, the "we," the "our." Not only do we accept our own guilt, but we see ourselves as one people and accept that it's not enough for us to be "perfect" if another Jew has sinned.

We're in this together. We're responsible for each other. It doesn't help us to live in a ghetto. G-d doesn't accept walls between us. He sees us as all together, one big boisterous package.

After Yom Kippur we immediately celebrate the holiday of Succot, when we're supposed to understand that our homes and riches aren't permanent. In Israel, many buildings are designed so that a succah can be built on a balcony/terrace, sometimes not all that large, but at least it's possible for each family to have one with easy access.

The idea is to eat and sleep in the succah, even braving the elements. The roof must not be waterproof.  Nor may it be of synthetic material.

During Succot the sidewalks are full of succot, so that people can observe the mitzvah of eating in one.

And after Succot is Simchat Torah, when we complete and begin again the annual cycle of Torah Readings, joyfully, publicly and communally celebrating the centrality of Torah to Jewish Life.

Just a week after Simchat Torah, it's already Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, the beginning of the next month. This year Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, 5775, will fall on Friday and Shabbat, October 24-25, 2014. The Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers will be said together at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh that Friday, the 30th of Tishrei at 8:30am.

Please join us.

You can visit the holy site anytime. Guided tours can be arranged through the Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Shiloh office. Email  or phone 02-994-4019.

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