Rain gives joy to the entire world

rain_over_me_by_sandrafd-d59i7acThe sages taught, “The sending of rain is an event greater than the giving of Torah. Torah was a joy for Israel only, but rain gives joy to the entire world…”

When Sukkoth begins, so do our prayers for rain in Israel.  These prayers have been recited for centuries.  Our prayers extend to all places in need of rain.  “Mashiv ha-ruach u’morid ha-gashem” – May the Source of Wind and Rain send rain to replenish the land and our souls. And may we use our resources wisely.

Moadim l’simcha,

Rabbi Nina

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Yizkor: Instructions for Remembering

Yizkor: Instructions for Remembering

Remember.

Remember the blessings of those who no longer walk this earth.

Remember each name, each life-story.

Remember on behalf of those whose memory fails.

Remember with love the sweet and the bittersweet.

Remember with forgiveness the hurt and misunderstanding.

Remember with insight so you might experience deeper meaning.

Remember through the pain until you can touch the joy and find comfort.

Remember through dreams left unfulfilled and choose one to fulfill.

Remember through your heart.

Remember through your actions.

Remember through living with kindness, generosity and forgiveness.

Remember through your children and grandchildren.

Remember by planting memories and helping them take root in the living.

Remember by opening your heart even if you thought it was closed forever.

Remember to live your own life as a blessing.

Remember to do all this.

Remember and you will be remembered.

Remember.

————–

Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi©

Community Rabbi

8 Tishrei 5776/21 September 2015

Meditation before Yom Kippur for One who Cannot Fast

Meditation before Yom Kippur for One who Cannot Fast

By Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LMSW © 2005/5765

Ribbono shel Olam/Master of the Universe;

Creator of All, Source of All Life,

Who Knows What is Deep in Human Hearts,

Who Nurtures Every Living Being:

As You know, dear God,

Yom Kippur is fast approaching, and because of my condition

or circumstances beyond my control,

I am not able to keep the traditional fast –

I cannot abstain totally from eating.

On this Day of Atonement, this Sabbath of Sabbaths,

this year and every year,

it is so central to join the people of Israel

in denying ourselves food and drink for one day

so that we focus on correcting our misdeeds,

on knowing our mortality;

on reaching for a life of Torah, mitzvot, and lovingkindness;

on You.

You know, dear God, that it is not my intent

to be apart from our people and our tradition.

My current state of health or military training makes it difficult for me to fast

So, dear God, I turn to You now in sincerity and openness:

Help me in the coming year to do my best in guarding my health.

Help us, Your children, learn how to protect our bodies from harm.

Help us support others in caring for their tzelem Elokim, their Image of God.

Teach us to help one another grow and thrive in Body, Mind, and Spirit.

If there is an opportunity for me to help others who suffer

by doing something they need or by being attentive company –

Grant me the ability to do this mitzvah with love and devotion.

Rofeh khol basar/Healer of all living creatures:

I thank You for the breath that is in me

for the community of Israel that lives

for the possibilities of today and tomorrow.

May my eating be as a fast;

May it be dedicated to You, to T’shuvah

to the Renewal and Restoration of my Relationship

to You, to Others, and to Myself.

Regret alone cannot return us

We pay a high price for regret.

The season of reflection is upon us

Fixing a time to assess the meaning of our lives

The quality of our relationships

We can taste the sweetness and bitterness that coats our tongues

Feel the peacefulness and havoc in our hearts

The outrage and complacency of our souls

A meaningful journey through this season can change us

If we face the truth of whom we are – with forgiveness and without judgment.

Directing comfort and compassion inward,

We can identify where we have missed the mark

And meet it with honesty supported by loving kindness.

Create an opportunity to remove obstacles

And summon the courage to get our lives back on track

Relief replaces regret

Empowerment overcomes stagnation

Engagement builds new connections

The harvest festival of Sukkot

Falls on the heels of Yom Kippur for a reason

Cleansed and renewed, we experience a spaciousness of being

Clarity of heart and soul frees us

To gather in the cornucopia of a glorious bounty

Our tables set with gratitude

Breaking bread outdoors

Our Sukkah overflowing with guests

Human and divine.

We drink in joy in a setting of complete vulnerability

To ready ourselves for the winter that will surely follow.

If we are prepared

The cold will not overcome us

We will plant and cultivate spring blossoms

Dancing in the spring rain, we will reaffirm life

In the summer heat, the respite of even the slightest breeze will be welcomed

The same applies to the seasons of our heart.

If we slack off and are not diligent

About the quality of our character, values and actions

We will lose focus and perspective

And possibly our way

Regret alone cannot return us

Thankfully, the season of reflection and return is upon us

A new year begins

While we have no control over the seasons or even our circumstances

We can choose to live a fulfilled, meaning-filled and purposeful life

Which prepares us to

Face challenges and conflicts

Pursue peace and justice

Live with kindness and compassion

And love with an open heart.

May you and those you love inscribe yourselves in the Book of Life for a sweet new year!

Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi, Community Rabbi

4 Tishrei 5776/ 17 September 2015