Haftarah: Hosea 14:2-10, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27
This year I was at my wonderful little shul where we have the most beautiful tefillot (prayers) imaginable. Every year we are treated to the niggunim (tunes) and heartfelt prayers that come from the souls of two wonderful brothers. Aaron and Jeremy have been leading us in prayers and shofar blowing for many years.
I based my painting at the top of the page on a piece by the American Artist Ben Shahn. His life was dedicated to human rights and social action, and he expressed that through his prolific art works. His paintings, graphic art, photographs and essays are devoted to the “human condition”. The strength of human beings to survive difficulty and stand tall in the face of adversity and unfairness runs through his works. I love the music and the movement he brings to his compositions.
Shahn’s work communicates the struggle of the human spirit to succeed, not just to survive. He paints individuals and groups overcoming the destruction of their homes and their belongings…but continuing in spite of it. He represents those who are trodden upon but rise up in spite of it. He reminds us that we don’t live in a bubble. We must care for ourselves and those around us. Those are among the meditations of Rosh HaShana.
We are reborn each day. Each day we have the opportunity to make new choices and make them good choices. Each day we can forgive ourselves for what we didn’t do yesterday, or what we wish we had done differently. We can begin anew and strive to have a fulfilling day.
I take it back to the painting at the beginning of this post. The sound of the shofar is the sound of remembrance. It is the sound of Gd’s “still, small voice” that resides inside us. It is the sound of faith and of fighting for what is right. We all- regardless of race or colour- can hear the still, small voice, and carry it with us.
Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur are “The Days of Awe”. They are a gift that we as Jews were given in order to reflect on our values and our goals.
Enjoy this time and have a wonderful Shabbat.
with blessings for a good year of peace, joy and health,