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Sabbath Scriptural Selection
This Sabbath, the 25th day of Elul, 5743,
_ the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30.
Prophetical portion, Isaiah 61:10-63:9.
Rosh Hashana Scriptural Selections
Thursday, Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 21:1-34, Numbers 29:1-6.
Prophetical portion, I Samuel 1:1-2:10.
Friday, Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 22:1-24. Numbers 29:1-6.
Prophetical portion, Jeremiah 31:2-20.
Candlelighting, Friday, September 2, 7:43 p.m.
VOL. LXXXIV, No. 1
Friday, September 2, 1983 -
ON THE 5744 THRESHHOLD
It was a year filled with ramparts. The
commencement of the year 5744 is filled with
many anxieties. If the concluding twelvemonth
has anything to offer, it is a message of assur-
ance that the concerns that were so vital in the
past offer an admonition: what was endured
previously will be confronted with equal vigor
in the months and years ahead.
As_ the agonies — and there were many
which justified being labeled with worrisome
accompaniments — accumulated, the experi-
ences of what could be labeled a tragic year
made it one of the most depressing in Jewish
experience. It has ended with few solutions, yet
the judgment of it - must be with a sense of com-
fort that time will solve, just as it has often
healed many wounds.
Would that the military exploits had not
existed! Would that Israel could have kept out of
the embroiling conditions that developed in
Lebanon! It is now a factual item on the calen-
dar, with a past that can not be erased from the
record, and the future is filled with hopes that
pragmatic diplomats will know how to deal with
the situation, that the military experts will
avoid the errors of an agonized past, that Jewish
leadership will stand the test of time.
The swivel-chair philosopher may specu-
late about blunders and the horrible sufferings
that ensued. So much bitterness resulted from
the Israeli efforts to destroy the terrorist threats
to her northern situated population that it drew
into the disputes many nations, it fomented
criticisms that created anger, it divided Jewish
communities. It is the judging of the events as a
new year approaches that matters deeply.
Israel's security remains a major factor in a
situation that could be judged as the saddest in
the history of one of the youngest modern na-
tions with legacies that are the oldest in human
The developing experiences call for exer-
cise of wisdom learned from sufferings that
have marked every age in Jewish history. The
new lesson is for a speedy cessation of whatever
actions may be terminated — in the interest of
peace for Israel and her neighbors, for the entire
Middle East and as a beckoning light to man-
kind to strive for an end to warfare.
Tragically, this is not a simple matter. The
new conditions in that battle-scarred part of the
world make Israel's position most difficult. Two
faiths are continuing a war of terror and Israel
could, together with the United States, become
a pawn in a fratricidal conflict. Hopefully,
further suffering and loss of lives will be averted
and what had become a curse for 5743 will be
avoided in 5744.
This is where the new year must teach a
lesson from a great friendship — that of the
United States in its close relationships with Is-
rael. This is an aspect that became especially
apparent in the past year and its lessons must
be applied in the year to come. It is by
strengthening the friendship and creating an
accord for action to end the horror that spells
Lebanon that relief may emerge from the ad-
mittedly tragic events. It is through unified ac-
tions and a realistic understanding of the chal-
lenges that solutions may be attained.
This leads up to another demand for unity
— the cooperative tasks within Jewry. If any-
thing created sorrow it was the -threatened split
in Jewish ranks, the internal bickering, the
failure of some groups — small in numbers but
all-too-vocal — that created discord. Never was
the obligation to avoid rifts so vital for Jewry.
No one expects the impossible. Neverthe-
less, every aspiration must be to so strengthen
the internal Jewish unified efforts that they
will lead towards creativity and progress for
Israel and for world Jewry.
The approaching New Year will carry with
it the hopes that the world, which in Jewish
traditional beliefs was created on Rosh
Hashana and the Jewish spiritual functions
therefore commence with it, will gain ground in
the quest for amity among nations. The aspira-
tion is that all that is good for the year ahead
will be a blessing for mankind, Jewry and
neighbors benefiting from it.
There is that hope for what must become
attainable — an end to racial strife and a
humanism relating all races, all faiths. It spells
an aim for peace among nations and a civilized
conduct among all peoples.
The lessons of the months that conclude the
retiring year create the craving for such human
accord. It is not easily attained, in the experi-
ence of hatefulness that has blanketed the
world. As an aspiration for a new year it is a
duty that cannot be shirked. The obligation for
such striving is the root of all greetings to be
exchanged on the Rosh Hashana now approach-
NEW YEAR TOOLS
In the quest for a Rosh Hashana salutation,
there is nothing more apt than the assertion of
the savant of nearly 2,000 years ago, Rabbi
Johanan ben Zakkai:
He who possesses both learning and piety is
like an artist with his tools ready to hand.
The famous Tanna who secured Rome's
permission to establish the historic Academy in
Yavne, thereby continuing Jewish life tradi-
tionally and in the process assuring survival for
Judaism, rescued Jewish spirit from destruc-
tion by the Romans.
His plea for learning was one of his legacies
for succeeding generations. It remains a legacy
for this generation as well.
May such tools ever be on hand to
strengthen Jewish identifications. Shana Tova!
Historic Treasures: Legends
of Second Commonwealth
For more than half-a-century, "Legends of the Jews" by Dr. Louis
Ginzberg was a major inspiration for learning and served as a guide
for scholars, teachers and students. In more recent decades, the
legends compiled by Zev Vilnay added to the legendary treasures.
"Jewish Legends of the Second Commonwealth" by Judah
Nadich (Jewish Publication Society), as the newest contribution to
folktore, pi-ovides so vast a collection of historic material that it
assumes significance on a par with the most valuable literary-
historical facts enriching the most fascinating records of a rr -
portant era in Jewish history.
Dr. Nadich, rabbi of the New York Park Avenue Synagogue since
1957, author of several other volumes which included American
Jewish historical chronicles, incorporated in this new work so
thorough a record of the most significant occurrences that influente
Jewish experiences, that his scholarly anthology is certain to inspire
increasing interest covering Jewish striving for continuity and em-
phasis on learning from the most threatening to Jewish survival.
Taking into account the Hasmo-
nean era, the roles of Akiva and Yoha-
nan ben Zakkai, the scholars and the
sages, the dramatic events recapitu-
lated emerge as much as an historic
record as the legendary spirit in which
the events are recounted.
This is, indeed, a history of the
Second Commonwealth and of the per-
sonalities whose roles are indelible in
the historically indelible cast of char-
Taking into account the ideologi-
cal as well as historic, giving emphasis
to the ethical and disputable, the
thorough coverage of the differing
views of Hillel and Shammai reach
into the debatable that leads to an
appreciation of the scholarly confron-
tations recorded in the Talmud, as well as the events that marked
Jewish struggles for survival, as in the Hasmonean era.
Dr. Nadich, in his thoroughly researched work, covers the events
from the Third Century BCE to the destruction of the Second Temple
in 70 CE. Therefore, the historical marked by the legendary marks a
march through that most important period in Jewish history, the
emergence of the synagogue, the triumph of the leadership in its
wisdom of arriving at spiritual fortresses that assured the continuity,
the very indestructibility of Jewry.
The introductory chapter is in itself a very scholarly analysis of
these experiences. The author deals at length with the records left for
posterity by Josephus and he gives full credit to his having drawn
upon Josephus for his legends relating to the Roman era and the
conquest of Judea.
Thus, Dr. Nadich proceeds to describe how defeat, under Titus,
was not a triumph, with Yohanan ben Zakkai producing the spiritu-
ally defensive means of survival. Therefore the author of this impres-
sive collection asserts:
"The work of the sages in developing Jewish Law and schol-
arship, in making the study of Torah and the life of Torah a new
central force in Jewish existence, assured Jewish survival and
This is a mere capsule as a comment on a very great book. This
anthology of Jewish legends serves as fact and reality in encouraging
utilization of this noteworthy literary anthology as a textbook for
uninterrupted study of Jewish history.