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September 28, 1990 - Image 52

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I TORAH PORTION

FIGHT
THE BIG "F"...

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52 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1990

Torah Portion

Continued from preceding page

the study of the rebbe to bid
him farewell.
"Why are you hurrying to
return home, my son? Why
don't you spend the holidays
with us?"
"You see, rebbe," the Chasid
answered, "I am a shaliach
tzibur (cantor) in my com-
munity and I will lead the
holiday prayers in my
synagogue. I must leave now
so that I will have ample op-
portunity to review the
Machzor (prayer book) and
prepare my prayers before the
holidays."
"Go, my son, beshalom — go
in peace, But remember the
Machzor and the prayers are
the same as last year, and the
year before and the year

Yom Kippur

before that. It is far more im-
portant for you to prepare
yourself for the coming year.
Ask yourself the following
questions: How far have I
come this year? What have I
accomplished more this year
than in previous years? How
many resolutions and pro-
mises of last Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur have I fulfill-
ed?"
The rebbe's words to his stu-
dent are equally relevant to
all of us. During these two
weeks, Jews will flock to the
synagogue to recite the same
prayers from the same
Machzor. On Rosh Hashanah,
we heard the same sounds of
the shofar and on Yom Kippur
we will again abstain from
food and drink. Nothing real-
ly changes in our mechanical
observance of the High Holy
Days from year to year. It is
rather our deeds and feelings
and behavior that we must
review. It is ourselves that we
must prepare for the New
Year.
Judaism asserts that we
can change and we must
change. We are free moral
agents, capable of choosing
between right and wrong.
And because we are free to
choose, we are not only
responsible for our past, but
we also are capable of chang-
ing the course of our future.
"How do we know that a
man's sins have been
forgiven?" asked a Chassidic
rabbi. And he answered:
"When he no longer commits
the sin." We are free to break
with what we have been, to
become what in the depths of
our hearts we know we can
yet be.
And in this religious exer-
cise, we are not alone. God is
our facilitator. In the
Midrash, we are told that God
proclaims, "Open your hearts
for me even as slightly as a

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