Parashat Hashavua for Ha'azinu 2020

Parashat Hashavua for  Ha'azinu 

Rabbi Stan Zamek
United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong

There are many ways to conceptualise the Yamim Noraim.  The atmosphere of the Days of Awe is so different from the rest of the year that I like to think of the period as a place as well as a time.  The High Holy Days are a very different country than where we usually reside, one to which we make pilgrimage each year.

A pilgrimage is more than a trip.  The Yamim Noraim are not a vacation destination.  Still travel is travel and we need to pack.  Given the serious business we will have when we arrive, we should do our packing with care.  We want to make sure we have what we need - and nothing we don't - when we get there.  So here is a suggested packing list:

Please bring the following:

  • Honesty
  • Openness
  • A generous spirit
  • Forgiveness (note: You cannot receive forgiveness without granting it freely. Please bring enough to share with the group.)
  • Love
  • Contrition
    Worthy aspirations
  • Hope
  • Kavanah (holy intention and attention)
  • Joy
  • Zerizut
  • Humility 

Note: Your pain is always welcome- may you have little and may it soon be eased.

The following may not be brought into the Yamim Noraim: 

  • Pettiness
  • Grudges (please dispose of these in Elul.)
  • Lies (particularly those we tell ourselves)
  • Arrogance
  • Rationalization
  • Cynicism
  • Discord
  • Guilt (note: Guilt is different than contrition.
  • Contrition is healthy and leads to change. Guilt is toxic and leads to despair.)
  • Blame
  • Spiritual laziness
  • Food and drink (Yom Kippur only)

We know you have a choice of how you enter 5781.  Thank you for choosing life and blessing.  Have a challenging and productive journey!

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