Sunday, October 02, 2016

Pre Yom HaZikaron

* Just back from Mincha/Shaloshudes/Maariv?Havdalah. Someone (unknown by name to me) spoke at Shaloshudes about how the shofar's sound is described as serving to make you shake.  he had two takes on shaking - one, that when you shake off the dust covering something you see it's beauty. His second thought was that sometimes you need to shake things up, to reevaluate, and to reorder your life. Need to call dad.  Any minute, please G-d. On Shabbos started learning an amazing piece by Rav Yoel Bin Nun.  he says it's something he pondered and worked on for years, and it shows. Key to his piece is a somewhat well known idea in Judaism about time.  It's popular to speak about how seasonal moments are revisited every year, like going around a train track, or up and down a perpetual spiral where you hit the same spots again and again, and it's revisited and new at once.  Rav Bin Nun stresses a related but distinct point.

*It's about a half hour since I wrote the above.  Have not moved from my perch.  Wrote back to a student that is worried about our upcoming test and asked for a modification.  Also wrote a colleague who specializes in learning issues about these upcoming tests. Wanted to call dad and realized my phone was off, waited for it to turn on...

*Spoke with dad and he's ok.  Now I'm distracted from writing the Torah thoughts I wanted to share.  Got to get that groove back.  

Rav Bin Nun focuses on the idea that Jewish times don't just revisit events from that spot a year ago but they also overlap with what comes before and after them.  We're familiar with this fluidity from the context of the twilight time we call Bein HaShmashot. In the morning as well as in the night time there are those shrouded moments in between, when the previous period lingers even as a new time has begun.  

*Now it's late in the morning on Erev Rosh HaShanah.  Here are two quotes that resonate for me, in part because of my strong bias toward memory.

 "In a consciousness of memory even years do not simply pass by in accordance with this natural, primal, cycle, but rather are connected to years gone by in the memories of individuals, families, nations, and history.  This is the significance of the expressions 'zecher lemaaseh breishit - in rememberance of the act of creation' and zecher leyetziat mitzrayim - in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt'."

"A consciousness  of continuity, of cyclical repetition, and of memory creates life with meaning , while severance, segregation, and forgetting, are associated with death. The chain of time and the consciousness of memory are life.  The dead who are remembered on days of remembrance for years and years, live on in consciousness; they are dead only in body.  But 'where there is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any memory of things to come for thse who will come after them (Kohelet 1:11),' then there is no meaning or significance even to to the cyclical order of nature itself, with its sunrises and sunsets, and the winds that blow, and the water cycle. It is all just 'havel havalim - vanity of vanities;all is vanity (Kohelet 1:1).'"


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