September 7, 2016 · 4:15 pm
Rosh Hodesh by Laya Crust
Elul and September, 5776…2016
Elul and September started at about the same time on the calendar this year.
In Judaism there is a beautiful prayer we say as we greet each new month:
May it be Your will, Lord our Gd….to renew for us this coming month for good and blessing. Grant us a long life, a life of peace, a life of goodness, a life of blessing, a life of sustenance, a life of physical health, a life marked by reverence for heaven and dread of misdeeds, a life without shame or disgrace, a life of richness and honour, a life with love for Torah and reverence for good, a life in which our heart desires are fulfilled for good.
“Joy” by Laya Crust
September is a time of new beginnings. Students of various ages begin school and university. Employees say goodbye to the summer and start their work knowing autumn and winter are approaching.
Elul is a different type of beginning and ending. It is the beginning of looking forward to Rosh HaShana, the Jewish new year. It is a time of reflection and self improvement. The letters of the month of Elul (אלול) are the first letters in the words אני לדודי ודודי לי, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” So- Elul is a time of love…not just for our husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, but a time of giving love to those around us.
I was in the airport yesterday. A gentleman moved his luggage and then moved himself so a friend and I could sit together. I thanked him and we had a lovely conversation. At the end of the conversation he gave me his card.
As we go forward in September and in Elul, let’s remember the prayers for the new month. Let’s try to be happier, feel blessed and share our blessings with those around us. And thank-you, Chris Rudge, for your daily commitment to Random Acts of Kindness.
Have a good month filled with love, health , peace and fulfillment.
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Tagged as acts of kindness, art, art history, bible, biblical art, blessing, Elul, fulfillment, God, goodness, health, heaven, kindness, new month, peace, Rosh Hodesh, September, torah
May 27, 2015 · 3:25 pm
art by Laya Crust
Torah reading- Numbers ch 4:21 – ch 7
Haftarah reading- Judges 13: 2- 25
We are treated to a range of ideas this week. We learn the ritual a woman accused of adultery by her jealous husband has to undergo. We learn the laws of being a Nazir, and in the haftarah we read the story of a pragmatic woman speaking with an angel in a field. The woman and her husband find out that they will have a child who is to be raised as a Nazir, and then the angel leaves in a flame to heaven. That’s quite a tete a tete to have in a field!
Nestled among the stories is a beautiful blessing. Gd commands Aaron and his sons to bless the children of Israel with these words:
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord shine His face upon you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn His face toward you and may He grant you peace.
Each short sentence includes two blessings. In Hebrew the first verse is only 3 words. The verses expand to 5 and then 7 words- suggesting that Gd’s blessings over us also expand. We recite this blessing in our prayers. On holidays the Kohanim bless the congregation with these words. Many parents use this to bless their children every Friday night.
In 1979 archeologists discovered two silver scrolls in Jerusalem,at Ketef Hinnom. They were from the 6th or 7th C BCE and contained portions of the priestly blessing. The tiny silver scrolls, which are over 2,600 years old, were so delicate it took three years to unroll them.
Interestingly the prayer is said in the singular- whether a parent is blessing one child or a kohen is blessing an entire congregation. That is because the Jews are one people. To receive the blessing we have to behave as a unified people, hopefully striving to make the world a better place.
Enjoy your blessings, Laya
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Tagged as art, art history, bible, biblical art, blessing, Bnei Yisrael, dvar Torah, God, Haftarah, Haftorah, Israel, Israelite, Jewish Art, Jewish education, Jews, Judges, Ketef Hinnom, kohanim, Kohen's blessing, Land of Israel, Manoah, nazir, nazirite, parsha, Samson, silver scroll, sota