A High Holiday Message, Part 2

For many Jews, the High Holidays are a special time of year – and they may be among the few days when some of you set foot in a synagogue.  I suspect that for those of you who keep a significant distance from synagogues, one reason is that you are uncomfortable with the image of G_d projected in the siddur (the Jewish prayer book) and the Chumash (the printed version of the Five Books of Moses) often found alongside it.  Yet Jewish thoughts about G_d are not only found in these two sources.  Each of us comes to his or her understanding of the Divine, often by seeking out what others have said and finding what resonates with us.  Before you enter the synagogue for Rosh HaShanah, consider exploring the thoughts expressed by one of our earlier Jewish philosophers like Maimonides, Isaac Luria, or Spinoza.  You might also find it helpful to read the more contemporary ideas expressed by Buber, Steinberg, Kaplan, or Fromm.  (Feel free to request book suggestions by writing to me at physicsrabbi@gmail.com).  Even if you profess not to believe in G_d at all, try articulating clearly what it is that you don’t believe.  You may find that for you there is an acceptable concept of G_d which is found somewhere within Judaism even if not in the prayer book or the Torah.  This High Holiday season, try making that mental substitution during the worship services – you may find you like the services so much more that we’ll see you at upcoming Shabbat services!

L’shana tova,

Rabbi Jack