A Special Message for the High Holy Days
to All Our
 Jewish Classmates, Other

Friends and Family Members:

This year, once again, we proudly present an inspirational Rosh Hashanah message consisting of excerpts selected from a recent article by Rabbi Benjamin Blech (who spent over 37 years in our little town), this one published online September 9, 2017.

    

Rabbi Benjamin Blech, world renowned Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University in New York City since 1966; is also Rabbi Emeritus of Young Israel of

 

Oceanside, which he founded in our little town and actively served for 37 years. An internationally recognized Torah scholar, Rabbi Blech is an educator, religious leader, lecturer and prolific author of over 200 articles and 14 highly acclaimed books, one of which, Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed, was chosen by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations as “the single best book on Judaism in our generation.” Another one, The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo's Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican, was the subject of a special edition of 20/20 on ABC-TV in 2008. In a national survey by Jews Week, he was ranked #16 among the most influential Jews in America. Rabbi Blech is also featured in the latest book by our friend, now retired OHS teacher, Richie Woods, Legendary Locals of Oceanside

   

  

  

The Torah tells us the moving moment when after years of separation the twin brothers Jacob and Esau finally meet. At this stage of their lives they have taken divergent paths on their respective journeys. Their values are now totally dissimilar. The difference in their spiritual outlooks is exemplified by one short verbal exchange. When Esau summarizes his life he tells Jacob “I have much.” Jacob’s statement comes from a significantly different perspective: “God has dealt graciously with me – and I have everything.”

“Much” or “everything” are two ways of looking at the world. “Much” will forever remain dissatisfied. “Much” may have fulfilled his need but can never satisfy his greed. “Much” wants blessings unlimited – without understanding that limits for blessings are in themselves blessings."

   

The desire for more is our contemporary idol. Jacob grasped the danger of excess. What God granted him was the amount of blessing he needed. That’s why he could say “and I have all.”

 

King Solomon, the wisest of all men, wrote, “Give me neither poverty nor great wealth” (Proverbs 30:8). Extremes of either one of them are as destructive as their total absence. The impoverished suffer from need; the super wealthy are sickened by greed. Too much is as bad for our emotional health as too little is for our physical well-being.   

We live in a time blessed by great material prosperity. It is something that generations past longed to be able to pass on to their children. But we often don’t consider the potential minefield of bad behavior that lies in wait for our youth if they aren’t taught to balance their good fortune with a sense of self-discipline and responsibility.

In our personal quest for wealth we need to make certain that we do not allow it to become synonymous with stealth – stealing our sense of morality, our personal dignity, and the preciousness of our values above all the additional zeros in our bank accounts.

Blessings, just like heavenly rain, are good – except if, like hurricanes, they come beyond our capacity to absorb and overwhelm us with their power.

Let our hope for the New Year be that our prayers are met with the divine favor of moderation so that by having enough we can gratefully exclaim with Jacob our thanks to the Almighty for allowing us “to have it all.”

 
 
 

My wife, Sue, and I would like to take this opportunity 
to wish all of you and all of your loved ones a
SAFE, PROSPEROUS and a GOOD NEW YEAR, 5778,
and may you all be well and inscribed in the Book of Life.


and Shalom,
and if you will be fasting,
have an easy one.

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