New beginning bristle with the joy of discovery and the power of renewal. That’s what moves us to rousingly chant Shehechiyanu שהחיינו שat b’nei mitzvah and anniversaries. And the first time we enjoy a fruit in season. And the moment we affix a mezuzah to the front door of a new home.
Our brand new prayer books, שדירהם ,ש got their first ride’ last week, on the Shabbat when we blessed the coming month of Elul. Each page of the new books has so much wonderful stuff going on! When you’ve prayed out of a siddur for many years, you know so much of it by heart, and the familiarity is reassuring. But you also succumb to rote, to driving the route automatically. A new siddur or Chumash (Pentateuch with the Haftarot) every 25 or 30 years or so – is a spiritual breath of fresh air. And the davening Shehechiyanu experience was invigorating.
And on Sunday there was another joyous communal electricity of renewal, the first day of Religious school. Wow. Jen Bernstein and her outstanding crew of teachers, including new teaching assistants – Jack Finkelstein and Isaac Crabtree – launched us into a new year of learning Torah and celebrating this kehilla. Soaking in the intergenerational kickoff…
Jenna and Addie and Sophie, Michael Kruger (one of my Hebrew school boys way back when) bringing in Brady for the youngest Sunday school crew – I know I could mention so many more such moments – Sunday was a Big Bunch of soul satisfaction, nachas (No! I scold autocorrect – not nachos!); the Hebrew Phrase שנהרשונחשis a translator’s elusive prey: something like ‘repose of the spirit’, but that ‘s kind of starchy and tired. It fails to conjure the buzz, the thrill of being present and bearing witness. Ram Dass would say Be Here Now, to which I can only add: grab the opportunity to share gratitude to God for guiding us to this L’dor VaDor שרהםהשרהם שlife-giving moment. L’chaim דיינ , To Life!