Rabbi Lewis Eron for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Serving God in Gladness
It's hard to believe that in a few weeks we will be begin the fall holidays with the celebration of Rosh Ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year. While we often think of this season as a time of solemn observance to be approached with awe and reverence, the High Holy Days are truly festive days, as well. On these holidays, we celebrate God's presence in our lives and the opportunity His presence offers us to be better people.
The High Holy Days are a time to look into our souls. We come before God and measure our lives. Trusting that our God is a merciful God who reads our hearts, we believe that our judgment rests not on our deeds but on our souls, not on our actions over the past twelve months but on our responses to the choices we have made, the words we have said, and the deeds we have done. We believe that forgiveness is available to us if we are receptive to it. We need to ask ourselves if we are willing to change for the better and to continue striving to tighten our bonds with our family, our community, our world and our God.
It is particularly important during this season, when most Jews seek out the opportunity to come to synagogue to worship, that we, as a people, take to heart the Psalmist's exhortation to come rejoicing before God (Psalm 100:2). How can we take advantage of the promise of forgiveness and rebirth if we do not accept this opportunity cheerfully and with a sense of optimism? If we enter the synagogue out of a sense of obligation, with a feeling of being burdened, and without any trust in the process, how can we hope for self-improvement?
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