5775 High Holiday Message

Transcript of 5775 High Holiday Message:

“JEWS HAVE SIX SENSES . Touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing….. and memory. While Gentiles experience and process the world through the traditional senses, and use memory only as a second-order means of interpreting events, for Jews memory is no less primary than the prick of a pin, or its silver glimmer, or the taste of the blood it pulls from the finger. The Jew is pricked by a pin and remembers other pins. It is only by tracing the pinprick back to other pinpricks - when his mother tried to fix his sleeve while his arm was still in it, when his grandfather’s fingers fell asleep from stroking his great-grandfather’s damp forehead, when Abraham tested the knife point to be sure Isaac would feel no pain - that the Jew is able to know why it hurts. When a Jew encounters a pin, he asks: What does it remember like?” - Jonathan Safran Foer

He is right. Jews remember best. We have vowed never to forget. As this season rolls forward I find myself using my sixth sense of memory to complement my other five senses. I have heard my fathers melodic voice singing the haunting and familiar tunes of the holidays in my mind’s ear all month. I have seen the sheen in his white kittel, the robe he would wear for the holidays and my mother’s apron with proof of her tireless work adorning its fabric in my mind’s eye. My tongue can magically still taste my grandmother’s matzah ball soup - with the perfect blend of consomm√©, noodles and salt leaving us all to wonder how she gets it just right year after year. The smell of our house hours before Yom Tov arrives was unforgettable. It was a scent that old of the holidays. A potpourri of fragrant flowers on the table, delicious foods simmering, and autumn leaves just beginning to fade.

As this New Year of 5775 enters our lives and stokes the memory of our senses, may we realize that we are also making memories to be stoked generations from now. May that inspire us to add meaning and significance and pause to the moment. To slow down and soak it up. May that feeling take us well beyond the holiday season.

On behalf of Dori and our family, I wish you a sweet, healthy, memorable and memory making year of 5775.

Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner

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