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September 07, 1990 - Image 72

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-07

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Selichot: Preparing For The Holidays

Continued from Page L-1

mostly in the 9th through 12th
century, including famous Gaonim
such as Rabbis Amram, Saadyah
and Sherirah Gaon.
While members of the
Ashkenazic communities begin the
Selichot prayers on the Sunday
morning prior to Rosh Hashanah,
many Sephardic Jews began their
Selichot at the beginning of the
month of Elul, or almost three

weeks earlier. Selichot will be said
early each morning through Yom
Kippur. Other such prayers are said
on Public Fast Days.
It makes sense that the Shelichot
prayers are said after the Shabbat.
Since man's primary responsibility is
to act according to the will of God,
what better way to begin the new
work week than with prayers to Him.
Equally, beginning the day with

College A Test
Of Faith, Courage


Isaac, bound on the altar, had
tears only somewhat more terrifying
than his father Abraham. Isaac
would be gone; Abraham would be
left without his beloved child.
Having become a veteran of taking
a child away to college, there is
surely a sense of Abraham's terror
— I was about to lose my son.
Though the stakes weren't nearly as
high as those in the akeydah. I
knew that he would probably never
be the same again, that he would
become more and more a product
of the new friends, experiences and
environments that college would
Being somewhat of an expert
on campus life, I knew enough to
have other anxieties, too. Would this
university be right for him? Would
his first roommate be a good match
(from my professional experience,
the biggest worry)? How homesick
would he be? How un-homesick
would he be? Would he make
friends, get decent grades, have a
social life, sleep and eat right, stay
healthy? Would he want to come
home at the end of the year? How
ready was he for college? Why did
it seem that so many more bad
than good things could happen to
him in this new life? Why hadn't his
mother and I prepared him better
for this?
I wondered, too, how much my
son felt like Isaac as the long
journey approached. He didn't say
much and insisted in fact that he
was ready and excited to be going.
But how could he be, given the

Ljeh affaii


27676 Franklin Road
Southfield, Michigan 48034
September 7, 1990
Associate Publisher Arthur M. Horwitz
Jewish Experiences for Families
Adviser Harlene W. Appelman


many potential pitfalls that awaited
him. I tried a few simulations of
situations he might face. He gently
told me I was being ridiculous. He
couldn't really be so unconcerned,
could he?
We set off on our journey. He
packed the car — my back was
weak, and my heart a little heavy.
Short, nervous goodbyes to mother
and sister and off we went into the
unknown. Ten hours in the car with
little conversation about any of the
matters on my mind. Apart from the
mode of transportation, images of
Abraham and Isaac were never far
from my thoughts. And then we
were there, and soon after I left my
son at college and returned home,
full of anxiety but glad that "it" had
finally happened.
One year later, and it was a
wonderful year for him. My son
insists he wasn't scared or nervous
about going to college. Since it was
so ridiculous for me to have had
such feelings, in retrospect, I don't
bother explaining that the feeling
wasn't universally held.
In a few days, we'll take the
same trip, for his sophomore year.
He cannot wait. It is clear that home
for him is two places now, and I
prefer not to know which is his
primary "place." He has changed,
surely, in good ways. Some day he
may even admit that he was a trifle
nervous at this time last year, but
there is no debate over the real
value of the college experience and
the exciting worlds that beckon him.
The akeydah was a test of
Abraham's faith and Isaac's
courage. In its own way, starting
your child on the college path is
similar. It tests your faith in your
child and in your ability to raise him
or her, and it tests your child's
maturity and courage to strike out in
new directions. Fortunately, the vast
majority of parents and children
pass this test with flying colors. It's
true, too, what they say — "no pain
no gain." Good luck.

Rabbi Bill Rudolph is Associate
International Director of the B'nai
B'rith Hillel Foundations. His son
Dan is beginning his sophomore
year at the University of Michigan.

Selichot illustrates our eagerness to
perform mitzvot. It serves also as a
suitable introduction to the new day
... spiritually cleansing ourselves
before daily prayers.
There must be at least four
days prior to Rosh Hashanah for
the recitation of Selichot. If Rosh
Hashanah occurs on a Monday or
Tuesday, these prayers are begun
one week earlier. Two reasons given
for the four day requirement are:

1. The Torah requires that an
offering be brought unto the Lord
and sacrifices required a four day
isolation period to ensure that an
animal was free from any
disqualifying blemish. Since we
offer ourselves symbolically to God
on Rosh Hashanah, we rid
ourselves of any spiritual defects by
intensive prayers during a four day
period prior to the holiday.
2. The period of penitence
involves the ten days from Rosh

Hashanah through Yom Kippur, the
Aseret Yemai Teshuvah. The
process of asking God for
forgiveness traditionally consisted of
praying and fasting. Since on four
of the ten days we may not fast (two
days of Rosh Hashanah, the
Shabbat, and the eve of Yom
Kippur), we add four days prior to
Rosh Hashanah to complete this
ten-day period.
Any artist or craftsmen knows
that the finished product is only a
reflection of the preparation. As the
musician finely tunes his instrument,
so the Jew prepares for the new
year freeing himself from sin and
returning with full heart to his
Creator. In turn, we ask for a year of
health and happiness and promise
obedience to His wishes. For all this
to happen, the Selichot prayers
become a critical ingredient.

Rabbi Shimansky is headmaster of
Akiva Hebrew Day School.

Mending Emotions

Continued from Page L-1

Parents, by role modeling can teach
acceptable and successful ways to
vent frustrations. Children learn
though observing an occasional
disagreement in which parents
resolve their differences that self
esteem can be preserved.
Exercising compromise and
cooperation there are no losers —
only winners.

Employing competition in
conflict, while perhaps appropriate
in-the work setting, sets up a
win/lose situation and should be
avoided at all costs. Use humor
whenever possible to keep issues in
perspective. No one person should
be cast in the role of peacemaker. It
is a responsibility that should be

embraced by all family members.
Communication is a two way
street. The outcome is contingent
on the sender and the receiver.
Establishing rules of fair fighting,
including limit setting and
consequences are hallmarks of
peaceful families. What will and will
not be tolerated must be clear to
everyone. Name calling, put downs
and other deliberate infliction of
pain should never be allowed. Time
outs to simmer emotions may be
warranted. Statements should begin
with "I" instead of "you" to
communicate feelings, meanings,
and intentions. The latter places
blame and criticism. Our loved ones
deserve the same courtesy given to
our acquaintances.

•• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• On Rosh Hashanah we think about the past year and our past
• actions. Some of the things we did made us feel proud.

• Sometimes we needed to say, "I'm sorry" or, "Forgive me"
• for the things we did that hurt other people's feelings. It is
• important to forgive someone when we are asked.

Have each family member think


of someone they need to ask

forgiveness. It could be a family

From: DAD
member or friend. Have prepared

I am sorry that I

a "Tshuvah Gram" for each per-
broke my promise to

son to fill out, asking forgiveness

take you to the
from the identified person. Dictate


the contents for younger family

Please forgive me.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


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