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August 30, 2002 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-30

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

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KnollStudio

The Embrace Of Selichot
Brings Comfort And Solace

before those gates, we are also remind-
ed, first: and foremost, that as we
affirm God, God affirms us as God's
own.
It is as if the weight of our heritage
and the warmth of our tradition wrap
arms around us, saying, "Whatever
happens, know that I love you.
Everything will be all right."
t happened, in a previous con-
This is an especially appreciated
gregation, that one of my mem
message this year. The Shabbat of
bers was awakened in the mid-
Selichot, the 23rd of Elul, is the
dle of the night and
Hebrew anniversary of 9-
told to come get her teenage
11, 2001. The tragic events
son. He had plowed his car
of a year ago hang heavy in
into the living room of a
our memories as we gather
house, having had too much
together united in our faith
to drink at a party. The boy's
in God and the solidarity of
mother arrived, went up to
our Jewish community. As
her son, put her arms around
Jews, we look to our faith
hini and the first thing she
and our heritage for corn-
said was, "I love you; every-
fort and solace. We come to
thing will be all right."
the synagogue knowing that
I don't know that I would
RABBI JOSEPH our festival worship will
have been able to do that. I
pointedly remind us that we
KLEIN
suspeCt that my anger at him
are with God, just as God is
Special to the
and my fears for him would
with us.
Jewish News
have exploded into some
The familiar words and
kind of chastising reprimand
melodies stir warm memo-
about stupidity and immaturity,
ries of years past, with a comfort that
punctuated with, "Don't you know
comes in knowing that neither our
any better?" and "What were you
prayer book nor our purpose has
thinking?"
changed. What we share, we have
shared before — and will again
year after year. Though chaos
reigns in the world without, there
is security here.
With friends and family, we
gather for mutual support. In the
warmth of shared smiles and
from the touch of another's
embrace come the ultimate assur-
ance that we are not alone in a
world gone mad.
Now I'm sure that the mother in
The synagogue is "sanctuary"
this story did say all of those things to
because we gather there, because from
her teenager, but I really admire her
there rises the plaintive voice of a peo-
ability to first tell her son-what he
ple saddened and seeking consolation.
most needed to hear — "I love you;
And found there is the presence of
everything will be all right."
God, who reminds us, "I love you;
I thought of that story with the
everything will be all right."
approach of Selichot, Saturday night,
Aug. 31. We are, I think, a little like
that teenager.who knows that he is
about to confront his mistakes and
misjudgments, and will have to some-
In what ways did the tragedy of
how "fix" what he already has done.
9-11 affect your Jewish identity?
Do you think of the High
We stand at the gates of our High
Holidays, confronted by a liturgy that
Holidays any differently in the
demands self-examination, evaluation
aftermath of 9-11? Traditionally,
and atonement. But as we stand
Selichot worship begins at mid-
night. How might we interpret
this entering the holidays at the
Joseph Klein is the rabbi of Temple
height of darkness?

Shabbat Nitzavim-
Vayelech: Deuteronomy
29:9-31:30; Isaiah
61:10-63:9.

I

,

Selichot, God
affirms us as
God's own.



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