Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: September 24, 2017

Root Source teacher Rabbi Adler has started a 30 day series of Torah thoughts.

Monday, September 18, 30 days/30 reflections toward Rosh Hashanah,

Day 28

During my 25 years in the American rabbinate I bristled when I was asked to supply the Hebrew date on a monument for the cemetery. I’d be shown the rest of the wording on the stone and it would be something like “Beloved husband, father and grandfather.” I always felt bad because I knew the person was also a brother, uncle, father in law, son in law, friend etc. I would ask the family if they might consider putting those precious relationships on the stone so as to not leave anyone out and potentially hurt feelings. The response? “It’s too many words.” On my parents’ stones, they should Rest In Peace, we put down EVERY RELATIONSHIP they shared with others family members. Life is about relationships. The more the merrier, even if some can be….uh…..difficult. Spiritual life is about connections- with God, with people and their joys and sorrows, and with ourselves, to find ways to connect to our most authentic selves. Rosh Hashanah is a perfect time to connect, and reconnect, and feel we are part of God’s immense, yet potentially intimate, universe. May we all find that connection we are looking for during the coming Awesome days.

Tuesday September 19th, 30 days/30 reflections toward Rosh Hashanah

Day 29

I stood before a group of high school students right before Rosh Hashanah and asked, “What is the most important gift your parents can give you?” Lots of hands went up. “Money!” “Education!” “Time!” “Attention!” Confidence, faith, love, there were so many good answers, each with a caveat. Money is good but it can’t buy love or good health… and faith are good but educated and faithful people perpetrated the Holocaust….time is good but not if one is abused…..the discussion was SO interesting and engaging, a great group of kids. I had my answer on a piece of paper and revealed it only after they plotzed from suspense. “Here’s my word…the most important gift your parents can give you is…..a conscience.” It’s hard to beat that one. One student came up after the class and asked if he could keep that piece of paper. I wonder what that was about. This coming year, 5778, may we all be blessed with not only a conscience but also a clear conscience about what we do and say. Because a clear conscience is the best nighttime pillow.

Wednesday September 20th, 30 days/30 reflections toward Rosh Hashanah
Day 30
If you’ve been following these daily reflections I hope they’ve been a blessing to you. The one most effected by these posts is someone I know well. But first, a story. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah the rabbi of the synagogue really lashed out at his congregants, telling them in the strongest way about their misdeeds and failures. Is he going to stop soon? And you know what really bothered everyone? The rabbi never looked up to look people in the eye. What a chutzpah. How arrogant. The service was over, and on their way out people begrudgingly shook the rabbi’s hand and wished him Shana Tova. What the people didn’t realize is something the custodian found out when refreshing the area near the podium where the rabbi stood, for there, on the podium instead of papers, there was a mirror. You see the rabbi, while berating his flock, was primarily talking to himself. And that’s who most benefitted from these daily reflections- ME! I was talking to myself and am grateful to anyone who was listening. On this erev Rosh Hashanah, may God bless each of us with good health, happiness, family harmony, spiritual growth, peace in Israel and around the world, success in all our noble endeavors, and the witnessing of Mashiach and being reunited with all our loved ones. SHANA TOVA! Signing off for 5777.

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