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Showing posts from October, 2015

Shabbat Message - A Shabbat Of Solidarity With Israel

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Shabbat Shalom Shaarei Kodesh, This week, our people celebrated the new month of Marcheshvan.  I wrote about the interesting name given to this month in a blog posting that I hope you read (click here to read Why I'm Wearing Blue on MARcheshvan).  The name Marcheshvan is actually one word, but some have separated the name into two:  Mar (bitter) Cheshvan.  Some say that it is bitter because there are no Jewish holidays during the month, but many others disagree.  As Jews, we celebrate each month, regardless of what will happen.  When we announce the new month, as we did last Shabbat at Shaarei Kodesh, we proclaim as a community:  “May it be Your will, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors, to reawaken in us joy and blessing in the month ahead.”  During this holy time as we take our Torahs out of the ark and the community stands, we pray for peace, goodness, and blessing.  Finally, we pray for a time when all of world Jewry will return to Israel. The literal meaning of this line…

Why I’m wearing Blue on Rosh Chodesh MarChesvan

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Why I’m wearing Blue on Rosh Chodesh MarChesvan By Rabbi David Baum


By Rabbi David Baum
Rosh Chodesh is supposed to be a happy time – but this month, is kind of bitter.Today is Rosh Chodesh Heshvan but the month is commonly called Marcheshvan.The month is related to an Akadian word which was the 8th month of the Babylonian calendar.[1] There is a tradition in Judaism to emphasis the bitterness when we say Marcheshvan, Mar, the bitter, and then Cheshvan – the bitter. The rabbis say it’s bitter because there are no Jewish holidays in the month.But to be honest, as rabbi of a busy shul, maybe it’s good to have one month without a Jewish holiday!
There are other explanations for the name of the month, and I think it’s important to highlight them at this time.
The Pri Chadash (Even Ha’ezer 126:7) offers the only explanation that I have found for calling this month by the two-word name Mar Cheshvan.He suggests that the name Mar Cheshvan is based on the fact that it is the beginning of the…

Sukkot Chol HaMoed Message

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Moadim L'Simcha, 
There was a moment in my life that I will never forget.  It was the 9th of Av 5769 (or 2009), two days after our first son, Avi was born.  As we know, the 9th of Av is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, and yet, I could not help but smile as I walked inside our sanctuary.  Even as everyone was sitting on the floor, and reading megillat Eicha, I could not help but be elated because of the birth of our first child.  There are times in our calendar when we are compelled to feel a certain way.  On Tisha B’Av, it is sadness, but on Sukkot, we are commanded to feel the complete opposite of sadness:  Simcha, or happiness.  On Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot, we will be reading from the book of Ecclesiastes, which famously states in chapter 3, “There is a season that is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven - A time for weeping and a time for laughing, A time for wailing and a time for dancing.”  When I stepped into the sanctuary that day, the 9th…