At a recent Shabbat service I announced that starting this week, once a month I will write my own thoughts in the E-Torah, rather than simply copying and pasting from various sources. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this.
So, here goes...
Nearly one month ago we celebrated the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and we kicked off the busy High Holiday season. Earlier this week we celebrated Simchat Torah (and what a Simchat Torah is was!), and with that we concluded the holiday season. So, after the busiest month on the Jewish calendar, especially at Chabad with people coming and going all month—for services, meals, parties, and so on—it's finally back to our everyday routine, normal life.
There is an old Chassidic saying, borrowed from a verse in the Torah which says, that after this month of holidays, "Yaakov halach ledarko"—Jacob went on his way. Or to paraphrase the song, "Jack hit the road."
After being surrounded by the holiday atmosphere, both the solemnness and the joy, it is now time to hit the road, to go back to the daily grind of our regular lives.
As you can imagine, this can sometimes be a downer. It's like a crash landing after a month of inspiration and excitement. It can be depressing
But, it doesn't have to be viewed that way. There is another perspective, which I think is really the purpose of all the holidays being packed into one month anyway.
The reason we have all these holidays right at the beginning of year is so it can have an impact on the entire year that follows. It isn't just a month of holidays; it is a month with the potential to set the tone for the entire year to come. Everything we do during that month has the potential to play a role in how our year turns out.
When we "hit the road" after the holidays, we should feel empowered by the inspiration of theholidays to live an uplifting and more spiritual life in the months that follow. So we don't leave the holidays behind, rather we take them along with us on the road, on our journey through life. We celebrate our Jewishness—which has been on full display during the past month—throughout the entire year.
As I always say, don't leave Judaism to the rabbis and the synagogues. It belongs to each everyone of you; make it your own every day of the year, and hit the road!
Wishing you all a Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov