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September 11, 1992 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-09-11

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

I TORAH PORTION

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Our Religion Requires
Active Participation

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THE MOST EXCITING
MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR

LINDEN

ACTOR • SINGER • MUSICIAN
Monday Evening
November 2, 1992
7:30 PM

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HAL LINDEN, presently star of the ABC Network
television series "JACK'S PLACE" and already known
for his role in the "BARNEY MILLER" series. You've
seen him on Broadway in the "Bells are Ringing,"
"The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N,"
as well as the "Pajama Game," "I'm Not Rappaport," and
"The Rothschilds" that won a Tony Award. His TV movies
include "I Do! I Do!" and "The Best of Everything."

ANNE GONTE
SILVER,
President Metro
Detroit District

MACK P111

musical conductor 0

BALFOUR CONCERT CHAIRPERSONS
Sherman Shapiro
Johanna Gordon

Irving Laker
Sidney Silverman
Philip Slomovitz
Rabbi M. Robert Syme
HONORARY CHAIRS

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Menachem Glaser
Dr. Jerome Kaufman
Marion Leib
Ezekiel Leikin
Max Sosin
Dr. Lester Zeff
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Anne Brand
Marge Kaufman
Billie Kramer
WOMEN'S
COMMITTEE
CHAIRS

Eleanor Hack
Pauline Klein
Mary Shapiro
WOMEN'S
COMMITTEE
CO-CHAIRS

FOR RESERVATIONS PHONE 569-1515

or write to the

ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA

Zionist Cultural Center
18451 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075

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46

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1992

RABBI IRWIN GRONER

Special to The Jewish News

T

his week's Torah por-
tion describes the
beautiful and im-
pressive ritual of bikurim, the
bringing of the first fruits in
the spring of the year at the
festival of Shavout. Pilgrims
who came from all parts of
the land to the city of
Jerusalem would ascend Mt.
Zion, and they would recite
there a statement of
thanksgiving to the
Almighty.
The Mishnah describes in
detail the manner in which
the bringing of the first fruits
took place. Entire com-
munities went up in splendid
procession. Accompanied by
musical instruments, the
pilgrims sang with exultation
as they entered Jerusalem
joyfully, often carrying their
fruits on beasts of burden.
When they reached the Tem-
ple Mount, every pilgrim
placed the basket on his own
shoulders. Even the King of
Israel, in all of his royal ma-
jesty, did the same and
presented his first fruits
before the Lord, as he joined
in the procession.
This ritual contains a great
lesson. A monarch does not
perform menial labor nor
does he march in a procession
with commoners. The king
could have watched the
ceremony, as an observer of
the pageantry. But the king
was required to be a partici-
pant. All of Israel brought
their first fruits and the king
himself was obligated to join
in this entourage. The tradi-
tion thus emphasized the
mitzvah of being a partici-
pant rather than a spectator.

This truth merits renewed
emphasis in our time when so
many people are engaged in
passive watching. We observe
athletes exercising their
talents; we are entranced by
television personalities per-
forming on the screen; we
listen to brilliant lecturers ex-
hibiting their intellectual
prowess in public forums. We
are entertained, stimulated
and enlightened; but a vital
component is missing.
Only involvement and par-
ticipation make possible the
process of growth and per-
sonal development. This
value is most acutely needed
in the realm of the spirit. We
can be satisfied if others play,

Irwin Groner is senior rabbi
of Congregation Shaarey
Zedek.



think or entertain for us. But
should we expect others to be
religious in our place, to
undertake our own exercise of - -
the spirit, to carry our first
fruits into the sanctuary? The
participant is inspired by the
very act of his self-expression,
but the bystander does not
truly share in the depth of
religious encounter.
The genius of Judaism has
been that our religion, unlike
others, belongs to the people.
A Yiddish expression
declares, "Nine rabbis don't
make a minyan, but 10 cob-
blers do." The great growth
and development of Judaism
was not a product of an ec-
clesiastical structure because
we had none. It was not due
to a professional class of rab-
bis because such did not exist

Shabbat Ki Teze:
Deuteronomy
21:10-25:19
Isaiah 54:1-10.

until the 15th century.
Jewish continuity was
assured by the personal corn-
mitment of every Jew to the
fulfillment of the command-
ments and observances which
gave meaning to his life. Our"
tradition bears witness to the
unwavering emphasis on the
responsibility of every Jew, —
not just the chosen few, to
shoulder his responsibility to
his people, faith and God.
Judaism gives us all oppor-
tunities and occasions to
become participants rather
than spectators. As we gather
daily with our families,
parents and children have op-
portunities to recite a bless-
ing, invoke the name of God '-
and make of the family table
an altar. Words of Torah may
be studied and discussed. The
Sabbath offers a weekly occa-
sion for the family to share in
sacred observance with the
lighting of candles, the recital -
of blessings, the singing of
songs and prayers. Each holy
day with its distinctive prac-
tices enables us to become
participants in sacred
moments.
The High Holy Days are
rapidly approaching. Large
numbers of people will gather
in synagogues everywhere.
The service is not a theatrical
performance, but rather a
spiritual exercise to be
undergone by each worship-
per. As each Jew engages in
that Divine — human
dialogue which is prayer, as
each individual offers the first
fruits of his hope, love and

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