The Day of Remembrance is upon us. As if we didn't all have enough to remember already. Remembering things is what we do all the time, and now we take a holiday to remember some more.
I recall my cantor teaching my Hebrew High School class that we wear a talit over our shoulders on Shabbat to replace the loads that we carry in our labors during the week. Wouldn't this point be better made, I asked, if we kept our shoulders entirely clear? No, he taught, to leave them empty demonstrates nothing; we don't merely remove the weight from our shoulders, we replace it. We are not merely relieved of a burden, we are going further and adorning and ennobling the shoulders that are weighed down on the other days of the week.
On Rosh HaShana, we are adorning ourselves with remembrance, clearing our minds of the demand to remember every quarter-hour's obligations, and delving instead into the remembrance of our longer-term commitments. At a minimum, we look back at the past year. Looking back at where we have gone off the track during the year, and also at what we have seen and learned. In this edition of Orot we have insights gained from the past year's travels, in Israel and in China, and from recurring visits with long-familiar texts. On this festival of memory, the longer view of history concerns us as well - personal histories are recounted here, as well as the 350-year history of our people in our city.
We celebrate this birthday of the world by remembering where it has been, and also where we have been.
Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Bolton - The Yom Kippur Experience in the Talmud: Wednesdays at 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Weekly Siddur Class with Rabbi Bolton: Thursdays from 8:40 - 9:40 am, in the Library following minyan