Dear Sinai community,
TGIRH (Thank God it’s Rosh Hodesh)! Today is the last day of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. This month is sometimes called “Mar Cheshvan” which means “bitter cheshvan” (mar is a cognate of the word maror that you may know from Passover’s bitter herbs). It’s bitter because it’s getting colder and darker and the month has no holidays – especially striking after the month with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah. This past month has been bitter for us in non-religious terms too. We are happy to say goodbye to the month of election stress and unrest and dangerously spiking Covid-19 cases.
The new month, Kislev, represents future promise and better days. This month brings Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Despite our return to stricter virus precautions, the good will and gratitude, the gifts, latkes, and bright candles symbolize a new boost to our spirits. Like the Hanukkah candles and the moon itself, however, the light does not shine immediately at its brightest. The moon waxes fourteen days before it’s full and the Hanukkiah takes eight days to fully shine. Patience and tenacity are more important than ever. Giving and receiving help are also critical for our community’s longevity and vitality. The shamash on the hanukkiah reminds us that light is kindled and grows steadily brighter only with the presence of “the helper” and each of us needs to give and receive more these days.
This update is meant to be a kind of helper – to keep you informed of the Temple’s status and important steps being taken for the community’s future. It is also a reminder that we face serious challenges ahead – including a furlough for our staff – and that we persevere the challenges by leaning on each other and supporting those who need it. Please, be careful and vigilant about virus spread prevention in the coming weeks as holidays return to our lives. Please, continue to lean on the temple community and the connections we are creating and supporting virtually even as our staff bear some extra burdens to ensure those connections can remain strong. I look forward to seeing your reflections on gratitude, your photos of good meals, and soon, the lights shining brightly in your windows. With blessings from my house to yours as we enter the month of Kislev, Rabbi Jonathan Roos