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  ISRAEL    
 
 
  HIGH HOLIDAYS  
 
MACCABI WORLD UNION, DESCRIPTION & IDEOLOGY, BY RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO High Holy Days Message
By: Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
Deputy Director-General
Maccabi World Union, www.maccabiworld.org
 

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

 

 

 
Kfar Maccabiah, Thursday, September 10, 2015

High Holy Days 5775 Message

Dear Friends,

It was 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.

Elevated 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."

But the 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?"

Then, 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".

The 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."

And in Kobrin it is said that never was there greater emotion than on that Shabbat.

 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.

Rosh 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.

Rosh 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. 

When 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.

Our 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 heavens;

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 and value,

the State,  the People of Israel, and our Maccabim all over the world.

With best wishes,

LeShanah Tovah ticatevu vetechatemu!
May you and yours be inscribed for a Good Year!

Chazak ve'ematz!

RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO

Deputy Director-General & Director of Education

Maccabi World Union
 
   
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