Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gilad comes home

.ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם מתיר אסורים

Blessed are you, Adonai our God,
Sovereign of universe,
who releases the captive.

Also worth reading: this moving article by Messianic Jewish blogger Abba Lazarus:
"Our children understand that ten thousand terrorists cannot take away our love for them."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Building a sukkah

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quote of the Day: Dwight Pryor on Sukkot

A beautiful insight on Sukkot from the late Dwight Pryor.  (This selection begins with a quote from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin):

“On Sukkot our desires [“to dwell in the House of the Lord” (Ps 27:4)] are answered. In effect, God is the bridegroom and we, the Jewish people, are the bride called upon to enter the bridegroom’s home. The seven days we sit inside the sukkah correspond to the seven days that a marriage is celebrated.”
At Mt. Sinai, Israel became a bride that accepted Adonai as her Sovereign Lord with the confession: “Na’asei v’nishma!” (“All that the LORD has spoken, we will do and we will obey.” [Ex 24:7]) Thereafter He faithfully fulfilled the duties incumbent upon any husband, to provide food, shelter and intimacy to his bride.
The Lord rained down manna and brought forth water for His beloved, and made Israel to dwell in booths (sukkot). During the journey, the covering Clouds of Glory protected His bride in the desert, and the portable Sanctuary (Mishkan) availed intimate access to His very Presence.
The Feast of Tabernacles commemorates those Clouds of Glory as well as the booths that Israel dwelled in securely on their way to the Land of Promise. It prompts us therefore to remember and rejoice over God’s goodness and passion toward His betrothed Israel.
Read the full article here.

(And get the lovely ketubah design by Miriam Karp above here.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Days of Awe...

...is the name of a beautiful piece by R. R. Reno at First Things' On the Square.

Reno writes (on Kol Nidrei):
...this odd petition, presented in the legal context of formally constituted court, comes by way of heart-rending chants. There is not the slightest legalism in the music, which is among the most cherished in the Jewish tradition. Instead, it rings with desperate pleas. The chants sigh and sob. Jews do not kneel to pray; they stand. But in haunting melody of the Kol Nidre, I’ve found my Christian soul driven to its knees.

Therein, perhaps, lies the resolution to the paradox. It is as if the cantor and congregation were saying, “O Lord, I am a precipitous, presumptuous, impetuous fool. Please see that my eager spiritual efforts in the year to come are as likely to be motivated by vanity as obedience, self-interest as devotion.” As far as this Gentile can tell, the spiritual meaning of the Kol Nidre petition accords with the petition I make before I approach the altar to receive communion: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
And the conclusion:
I am Christian and not Jewish. I have no real grasp of Hebrew and I only vaguely follow the prayers in my wife’s synagogue. Yet, in the final moments of Yom Kippur I have felt a terrible anguish, yearning to move, and yet immobile, wanting to rush to God’s side and yet nailed to my worldly life. I have shuddered as cantor cries out: “The doors are closing; the doors are closing.” For in those haunting words I hear Jesus saying: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

Read the full post here.