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I’ve got 8 minutes—Rosh Hashanah Drasha

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03.09.2021

I’ve got about eight minutes in which to express to you my final Rosh Hashanah message at Caulfield Shule. It reminds me of when George Bernard Shaw was invited to give a talk about English literature. “How long do I have?”, he asked. “8 minutes,” came back the reply. “How am I supposed to say everything I know about English literature in 8 minutes?” asked Shaw. To which the reply came back: “Speak very slowly.” 

So, speaking very slowly, I want to sum up a few key ideas about Judaism that drive my life and that I have tried to convey to you over the past 14 years: 
if I had to summarise them in one sentence it is: you are not alone; you don’t have to be perfect; keep perspective; hold onto hope. 

You are not alone is one of the most potent and enduring messages that Judaism has gifted to the world. It’s there at the beginning of creation when God says to the first created human being: Alone-ness is not good for the human condition, people need people.  

It’s what sets Abraham on his path to the stars, it’s what drives the destiny of Moses, it’s what kept us Jews going for centuries. We are fanatical about family; we are true believers in community. And when it comes to community, if there is a Jewish gene, it is not the money gene it is the compassion gene. It was shaped in the Egyptian slavery and planted in our DNA – this need for empathy and the imperative to help and support others, particularly the vulnerable. 

No Jew (and indeed any human being) should ever feel alone. And never have these words been more significant than in a time of pandemic and........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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