Kfar Maccabiah, Thursday, September 10, 2015
Holy Days 5775 Message
Shabbat. The Rabbi of Kobrin was significantly moved. His Hasidim, his
followers, could feel it. They especially admired this teacher for his
being so deeply moved as to cause the hearts of others vibrate to the
intensity of his feeling. His deep and melodious voice lifted his
Congregation to the heavenly sphere that transcends the mundane dimension
of human life.
into this splendid realm by their Rabbi, the congregation reached the end
of the Mussaf, its last prayer, Shir HaKavod - "Hymn of Glory". In their
state of general ecstasy they heard, as they did every week, the words
sung by their venerated Rabbi:
"May my praise be as a crown for Thee,
and my prayer as sacred incense."
Rabbi of Kobrin suddenly interrupted the song. With his eyes filled of
tears, the purest expression on his face, opening his heart as a tzaddik,
the Rabbi lamented: "Ribono shel ha'Olam, Lord of the World: What a little
thing am I! How devoid of merit is my prayer! How can this prayer serve
You as a crown, the way we are singing it?"
almost as if responding to the humility of the Chassidic master, the
congregation doubled the strength of their voices to a rich crescendo for
the next verse of Shir HaKavod:
"May the song of the humble man be as
precious in Your eyes
as the song sung over Your offerings".
Rabbi's face brightened. The pain of his expression transformed into
astonishment, then indescribable joy: "Now I understand, my Lord: it is in
the sum of our voices that we reach Your crown. It is in the sum of our
little efforts that we take up, and in the convergence of our souls that
we reach Your glory. We just need to maintain the strength of our voices,
and our tefilah, our prayer, will come to You. We must unite in the
harmony of our mutual support to aspire to Transcendence."
Kobrin it is said that never was there greater emotion than on that
Inevitably, another year slips away, 5775 shades from our lives into
wistful memory, and then we enter the new year Rosh Hashanah 5776.We pass
another point in our lives, we are tested anew. The chance of reflecting
on that which is passing comes to an end and a new one opens, pregnant
with alternatives and possibilities.
Hashanah 5776 is also a song: our song. Traditional tunes of our Festival
caress of our souls, warm our spirits, carry us back to sweet and bitter
times. These are the clear and strong notes of introspection and
self-evaluation we see as we enter the Days of Awe.
Hashanah 5776 is also our voice - of singing our songs together in
synagogue, join together in recognizing God as The King. As the Rabbi of
Kobrin reflected, in Rosh Hashanah we realize, who we are, what we are
able to do, how many we are. Especially on Rosh Hashanah we understand our
weaknesses, our strengths and our fundamental interdependence, even if we
are wrapped in fantasies of complete personal independence. We understand
our status as a small part of our People and our Community, and we are
moved to see how we can multiply if we unite our individualities. When we
sing as an act of merging ourselves into the trembling chords of the Days
of Awe, Ha'Yamim Ha'Nora'im, we vibrate in the discovery of ourselves as
part of a bigger picture, being together with so many others in a great
commonality in which pettiness, jealousy and little quarrels disappear as
if they never were.
voices join together, they multiply, effect a mighty transformation. 6
weeks ago, 20,000 voices together sang Hatikvah at the 1936 Olympic site
where the worst of tyrants, that most horrific genocidal murderer, Adolf
Hitler, expounded the end of the Jewish People in all his despicable
brutality, at that very place: the Anthem of Israel with its cry of Hope -
the Hymn of Hope and Life - reverberated with the force of millions,
millions tragically absent, but carried in the voices of millions present
and alive. The Maccabi voices that united at the 14th European Maccabi
Games were laced with the transcendent power of true prayer, ascending to
the Heavens of Commemoration and Remembrance, and onwards to the Heavens
of Praise and Joyful Celebration, affirmation of the present and future
life of our Jewish People.
united strength as a group outweighs our possible individual weaknesses.
Rosh Hashanah challenges us to overcome the selfishness of solitude with
the transforming joy of the harmony in shared work, of voices multiplying,
of trembling with others as we contemplate the miracle of Life. Rosh
Hashanah invites us to join in "group singing"; to join with those around
us to achieve the highest, most significant goals we ever aim to reach.
"Sometimes a singer cannot reach the high notes", said the Rabbi of
Koritz, "but another, singing loudly, comes to his aid, giving also the
weaker a chance to sing stronger than before. Mutual success results from
the community of these two spirits, where each partners his strength to
the others', success of the level and quality impossible for any man to
achieve in solitude".
May God grant us continuing joy this
New Year in the enormous pleasure that arises from the strength of our
profound meetings with those around us;
May God inspire us to begin or renew
sustained commitment to the fate of our community, of our Maccabi
Movement, of the society in which we invest the best of ourselves, of our
People, in the commitment that decides the paths of our life;
May God guide us to join our efforts
and prayers together to strive for and reach sublime goals and the highest
May God grant that in 5776 we invest
our energies in strengthening the unity that restored to our People the
glorious blessing of our robust, recovered national life;
May God grant that a fullness of
blessings for ourselves
and for all Humankind will attend this
New Year of 5776;
And may God grant us the continued joy of seeing
the development, growth and strengthening of everything that we hold dear
the State, the People of Israel, and
our Maccabim all over the world.
Tovah ticatevu vetechatemu!
May you and yours be inscribed
for a Good Year!
CARLOS A. TAPIERO
Director-General & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union