Kesiva V’Chasima Tova
All human beings build their lives on habit. This is not a bad thing. Without the force of habit, every day would be a confusing mystery. Our mental and spiritual states are built upon our expectations of ourselves and of the world around us. People would go insane if they had to decide anew every morning what they planned to do, with no path to guide them. The text of one of the morning Brochos reads “She-Targileinu B’Sorasecha”, –Accustom us to Your Torah…
However, a life of habit alone has its dangers. A life of Mitzvos performed because of habit alone becomes tasteless, like dry toast. A life of habit allows the mistakes that creep into our lives to go on unexamined. Therefore the opportunity to reexamine our lives seriously, at least once a year, allows us to adjust our course without rejecting the benefits that consistency offers us year-round.
Our shul needs the same regular evaluation. What should our community stand for? How do we break out of the rut of the regular programming of davening and classes? On what regel achas, single great principle, does our shul stand?
Our answer might be found in an obscure line from Pirkei Avos, (2:11). Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai is listing the best qualities of his leading disciples. Of his student Rabbi Yehoshua he says, “Ashrei Yoladeto”, Praiseworthy is she who bore him. What does that have to do with him?
The point is that Rabbi Yehoshua’s whole life, including all the Torah he learned and all the leadership he provided to the Jewish nation, was one of constant Kiddush Hashem, Sanctification of G-d’s Name. Kiddush Hashem is more than good PR. It is about living a life so sterling, so admirable, that everything that ever touched or saw you is enhanced and sanctified as a result.
Our shul has so much to be proud of. We are a community full of mentch’n, scrupulous in our Mitzvos, devoted to our learning, open, kind and tolerant towards others, soft-spoken to all. All who choose to daven with us, learn with us and join us or contribute to our Kehilla demonstrate their distinction and join the ranks of this city’s group of individuals about whom it can be said “Praiseworthy is she who bore him” Now is the time to ensure that these traits are not taken for granted. Now is the time to share our wealth and distinction. And now is the time to ask “What’s next for our great Kehilla?”
Deena and I wish you all a Kesiva V’Chasima Tovah.
Rabbi Raphael Davidovich