The Cycle of Our Jewish Lives

by Arliene Botnick, August 28, 2019

As we are about to begin our New Year, we are asked to assess, question, delve into our souls (Chesbon haNeFesh) in order to prepare ourselves for another beginning. The siddur we use during the High Holidays – the Machzor (which means ‘cycle’) comes from the root Chet, Zayin, Reish which means to return.

And each year, at about this time, we celebrate the cycle of our Jewish life as we attend services that are moving, powerful, full of community, a special niggun, and powerful and thought stimulating sermons.

Each year, we return again to listening to the blasts of the Shofar, waking up from the lethargy and ennui into which many of us have fallen. We return again to eating apples and honey as we wish one another a Shanah Tovah Umtukah. We are reminded again as we near Yom Kippur that we have to do Teshuvah (repentance), to turn our lives around again and make a new start. What a wonderful opportunity we have as Jews to be reminded of the cycle of our year, of our lives.

And the final celebration of this month of holidays, (Tishrei), we’ll end with the festival of Simchat Torah – Rejoicing in the Torah. We will complete the chanting of the last passage of Deuteronomy and immediately begin the first passage of Genesis – In the beginning.

Our lives are patterns of cycles, but the beauty of this concept is that we keep going on. We keep the cycle of our Jewish lives vibrant and alive. We teach our children how it is their heritage to keep the cycle going. As we usher in this New year of 5780, we know that the next generations of Jews will continue to welcome, as an integral part of their lives, our celebration of Jewish time.

So as our children return to Bet Sefer Solel on September 15th, as we prepare for the High Holidays on Saturday, September 21st with Selichot, as we all search our homes to find where we actually put away our High Holiday Machzor, let us enjoy the cycle of life and look forward to a brand new Jewish New Year.

To you all
L’Shanah Tovah!

Filed under: Educator's Message

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