Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Simon Jacobson’

More Jewish Holidays!

September 29, 2010

Three more holidays in our Jewish New Year Holiday Season:

Tishrei 21, which ended at sundown tonight, was Hoshana Rabba (“the Great Hoshana”), which was the final day for waving the lulav and etrog.

Tishrei 22 began at sundown tonight, initiating the holiday of Sh’mini ‘Atzeret (“the Stopping of the Eighth,” i.e., the eighth day, and truly the end of, Sukkot), a less-famous Jewish festival.  Among other observances, we say goodbye to the sukkah until next year.

Tishrei 23 is when we celebrate Simhat Torah, which means, literally, “the joy of the Torah.”  We read from the very end, then rewind the scroll all the way back to the beginning and read from there.

It is truly a holiday cycle.

Hebrew grammar:

Simhat is the s’mikhut (construct) form of simhah. The noun modifies the next noun.

Simhah = joy

Simhat = joy of…

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Tishrei 7: The Purist You

September 15, 2010

What would you look like if you pressed all the way down on your gas pedal?

The  following is from Rabbi Simon Jacobson, about preparing for Yom Kippur.  These questions are so important for all of us to ask ourselves.

What would you look like if you were at your best?

For some reason many of us know all too well what we look like when we are at our worst (that may be a bit too harsh, so let us say, when we are not at our best). But we are far less cognizant of our purest self.  Is it because society beats us up, or because misery loves company?  Whatever the reason, we are rarely dared to discover our fullest potential, and challenged to be at our best (except perhaps at work, but that’s for making money).  That’s why it’s refreshing — one can even say revolutionary — to know that once a year you are asked to do just that: to revisit (or discover for the first time) the real you — as you are at your purest, at your core.  When was the last time you tried that?  Do you have the courage to face your true self?

What would you look like if you pressed all the way down on your gas pedal?

— Rabbi Simon Jacobson

Hebrew notes from your devoted Hebrew teacher (yours truly):

Vocabulary:

Yom = day
Kippur = atonement

Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement

Pronunciation:

Yom: “yome”

Kippur: “keePOOR”

Elul 29: Last day of 5770

September 9, 2010

Today we are halfway through our 60-day spiritual journey.  For the past 30 days we’ve been using the power of the month of Elul to consider what we accomplished in the past year, successes and mistakes, and what we’ve learned as a result.  We’ve also taken a close look at our Divine souls and how we might honor and cherish them in the coming year.

Most poignantly, perhaps, we’ve reviewed the past year through the lens of relationship — between ourselves and Gd, between ourselves and others, and between ourselves and our Selves.  What was good?  What hurt?  How shall we address the broken parts and make them whole again?  We try to emulate Gd by bringing compassion to all our relationships, with unconditional love.

Tonight, as the sun goes down before Rosh haShanah, the universe goes into a comatose state.  A slumber descends on all existence, everything comes to a standstill in cosmic silence, in apprehension of its contract being renewed.

Regardless of how you took advantage of the first 30 days of the journey, you still have 30 more days to experience spiritual transformation, thanks to the energy of the month of Tishrei, which starts with Rosh haShanah and contains all the “high holidays,” including the solemn and cleansing day of Yom Kippur and the week-long festival of joy that is Sukkot.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider subscribing to Rabbi Simon Jacobson‘s free daily emails about the spiritual journey.  Click here.

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a year of health, happiness, and learning.

— Natasha Nataniela Shabat