Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner’s Holiday Message
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Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner’s Holiday Message

Read community insights, advice and perspectives during this time as we enter in to the 5781/ 2020 Rosh Hashanah New Year.

Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner
Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner

Return human, return to your soul … Time is fleeting.

These past six months have been incredibly strange. Individual days of seemingly endless hours with an odd sameness to each one, yet all the while the days flying by at a palpable speed. With the pandemic raging, wondering how much time would be allotted to each of us, to our loved ones?

During this period of sheltering and social distancing, mask wearing and debate over the efficacy of these practices, what has been raised in me is the following: An acute awareness that there are moments in which the world feels like an indifferent place, a place plagued by inexplicable tragedies and misery, a place where corruption, callousness and fear thrives. Utter futility! Utter futility! All is futile! And the renewed belief that while this thinking is part of our human condition, our Jewish tradition has much to help us handle this stark reality. Teshuvah, tefillah, tzedakah soften the harshness of the decree.

Because the clock is ticking, there is no time to waste! Teach us to count our days rightly, that we may obtain a heart of wisdom. While we have little control over how much time we are allotted, the quality of our lives, and that of the world, is determined by how we choose to live.

This year, we might all focus on cultivating a lev tov, a good heart, improving on how we will each manifest greater kedusha (holiness), chesed (kindness) and rachamim (compassion) in the year to come. Let us each consider the gifts of our hands, our hearts, the words of hope and righteousness that come from our mouths and our texts, even the way we choose to pray with our feet.

As we read in Psalm 90: Satisfy us at daybreak with Your steadfast love that we may sing for joy all our days.

Rabbi Shuval-Weiner is the senior rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah.

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