Thursday, 29 September 2016

A tribute to Shimon Peres of blessed memory on the cusp of Rosh Hashannah

Click here.

It’s a 4 minute video which encapsulates both everything that made Shimon Peres one of the greatest leaders of our time, and serves as a perfect prep for Rosh Hashanah. It also gets an added bonus for increasing my understanding and love of Israel and making me laugh. Go on, click.

I promise it is worth it.

For me this video is about two ideas fused quite perfectly in the life and the message of Shimon Peres, perhaps the two greatest ideas in human life. Peres understood what it means to be human; to dream of peace, to work towards the fellowship of humanity, to stand for something important and to reach for the edges of human possibility. He also understood what it means to be limited, and mortal. He knew how to leave office, to lose elections, to try and negotiate a lasting peace ... and fail.  Peres held both confidence and humility together, especially as he grew older.

Vainglory and arrogance ill becomes us. In the Unataneh Tokef prayer of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we stand before the Creator of all and admit, ki lo yizku beinecha badim - for all our merit is nothing in Your eyes. But on the other hand, as we say in the Yizkor service of Yom Kippur, You [God] have made us a little less than angels.

The great Chasidic Rebbe, Simcha Bunim taught that a person should go through life with a slip of paper in each of two pockets. On one should be written, ‘I am but dust and ashes,’ and on the other should be written, ‘For my sake was the Universe created.’ Shimon Peres, may his memory be a blessing, lived that truth. It makes wonderful lesson for this New Year for us all.

Oh, and while you might still have that You-Tube page open, you might be interested in a short piece on the Unataneh Tokef prayer Cantor Jason and I put together. Click here. We hope you enjoy it.

With blessings for a Shabbat shalom,

And a wonderful, sweet, healthy and joyous year to all the New London family,

Rabbi Jeremy

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