In his 1990 High Holy Day message to the congregation, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis z”l wrote: “WithfearandtendernessweentertheDaysofAweasold–newcreations, returningtotheoriginalImagecarvedinusby aGodofJusticeandMercy.”
In his poem “The Image” he continued: ThisImage, notidenticalwiththeimagelessCreator, Buta divineimpressionupona soulyearningtoberealized… A gifttobeearned, a seedtobenourished, a TreeofLifetobecultivated—A promisetobekept.
When visiting VBS, plan a visit to the Ellie and Mark Lainer Beit Midrash to enjoy “MOED: To Everything There is a Season,” a spiritual journey through the Jewish calendar, guided by the words of Rabbi Schulweis and the music of renowned composer, Aminadav “Ami” Aloniz”l.
THEJEWISHCALENDAR and Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis z”l
“The Jewish religious calendar holds together the contrasting moods and ideas that the holy days address: the introspective solemnity of the High Holy Days is balanced by the exuberant openness to nature on Sukkoth…the Passover, expressive of freedom, leads into the Shavuoth revelation of law…the grieving of Yom HaShoah is followed by the celebration of the resurrection of hope on Israel’s Independence Day.”
“To Everything There is A Season” (Kohelet)
ROSH HASHANAH: The World Was Born
“I would have thought that the Torah readings on Rosh Hashanah would include the verse from Genesis: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…’ but the rabbis chose to focus on human relations,” wrote Rabbi Schulweis in 5769. “With the creation of the human being Adonai enters history… On Rosh Hashanah we celebrate the interdependence of the creation of the universe and the birth of human history.”
“Yehi Or” (Or Ha’Am)
YOMKIPPUR: FromtheSages, SelectedbyRabbiSchulweis
The Great Crime
Rabbi Bunam said to his Hasidim: “The sins which man commits, these are not his great crime. Temptation is powerful and his strength is slight.
The great crime of man is that he can turn to God at every moment – and does not do so.”
JEWSDANCE…THEOLOGY? By Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis z”l
“On Passover, Jews eat history; on Sukkot they dance theology. Four agricultural species are held together, waved in all directions – east, south, west and north, up and down…But the waving is suspended at the mention of the word ‘Lord’: one does not point anywhere when the name of the Lord is mentioned.
God is not spatially located. A gesture of theological impact is taught in our ritual choreography.”
“Go Eat Your Bread” (Kohelet)
WHIRLWITHTHESCRIPTEDDANCINGPARTNER: SimchatTorah and Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis z”l
MOED – Text by Rabbi Schulweis
“SimchatTorah: the hands of young and old stretch forth. Seize the Torah and be seized by it! Raise it and be raised up! Embrace it and be embraced by it! Whirl with the scripted dancing partner! TORAH: Crown of our creation Ground of our immortality Source of our redemption. AnaAdonaiHoshiahNa!”
HANUKKAH: HOW TO TEACH MIRACLES TODAY
“How can the idea of the miraculous be meaningful to us today? We may be guided by the biblical Hebrew term for miracle, nes, which means “sign”… A miracle is an event that signifies something of “sign-ificance”… an intimation of an experience of transcending meaning. The sign-miracle does not refer to something beyond or contrary to logic or nature. It refers to events and experiences that take notice of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the wonder in the ordinary…
A major prayer recited thrice daily is worded to acknowledge thankfully “Thy wonders and Thy miracles which are daily with us evening, morn and noon.” To see the divine in the natural and the rational…is a major insight of the Jewish tradition.”
For more inspiring words on the Jewish calendar, paired with the musical commentary of Ami Aloni z”l, you are invited to visit “MOED: To Everything There is a Season,” brought to you by the Harold M. Schulweis Institute, now on display in the Ellie and Mark Lainer Beit Midrash.