Where Every Jew is Family

This Tuesday, Everything Changes!


It’s been a long time, but it’s finally coming to an end.  Everyone’s trying to get their last moment in the spotlight before it’s all over.

I’m speaking, of course, about leaving the spiritual high of Tishrei, the month of the High Holy Days and moving into the ordinary, mundane year.

For a month before Rosh Hashana, we were preparing for the big day with prayers and charity.  Then, a whole month of one holiday after another hits us.  Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah.  Even as the holidays left us, the holiness was still felt at the end of Tishrei as we pack up our sukkah supplies and refrain from tach’nun (penitential prayers) just like we do during the holiday season.  Then there’s Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, the first of the month.  This also is has a holiday-esque atmosphere with Hallel (special prayers of joy and thanks).

But wait, you’ll say, that was a week ago.  Aren’t things back to normal yet?

Well, no!  Not really.

You see, now that we’re done with the holidays, it’s time for us to think about how we survive on a day to day basis.  How do we get back into the daily grind of our lives.  And now that we’re in the rainy season, we need that rain to make sure we have food.  Without rain, things get pretty tough (as those from California will be happy to tell you about).  So, you’d think that we would ask for this life preserving rain immediately, right?  Wrong!

We wait 15 days, which ends on Tuesday, the 7th of Cheshvan.  So why wait?

In the times of the Temple, the farthest traveler who came to Jerusalem would have come from the Jewish communities in the Euphrates River region.  It took, you guessed it, two weeks to travel there.  Since we don’t want them to get stuck in the rain we wait for them to return.

It is only when the very last Jew has returned home can we truly fulfill our mission in life. In a spiritual sense, the “farthest Jew” refers to even a Jew who is consumed with with worldliness and physicality.  Even the most holy and righteous Jews must put their life on hold until those on the lowest spiritual level have “come home” to their spiritual potential.  Because without ALL Jews, their work in this world is incomplete.

This shows us the true power of every single Jew.  From the “lowest” to the “highest,” we are all infinitely important and we must treat each other as such.  So, despite the results of that other thing happening on Tuesday, remember what we learn from Noah’s ark, we’re all in the same boat and no matter the storm, when you’re with G-d, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Have a great week (and don’t forget to vote),
~Rabbi Yossi

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