Next week, that is after Rosh Hashana and heading into Shabbos Shuva, we will feature our semiannual column that previews the subject matter that a sampling of Rabbi’s in our readership communities will be addressing in their Shabbos Shuva drashas.
I was at an event the other day and to my left was a Rabbi from one of the larger shuls in the readership area. We were discussing things like Tefilin straps and other issues of the day when I asked him what his subject was going to be for the upcoming Shabbos Shuva. I knew that it was still a couple of weeks away at that point and early research is not one of my strengths and actually, I kind of like deadlines.
But I was sitting there and he was there too and we had a small amount of down time so I figured I’d ask what the subject of the drasha was going to be this year. He hesitated for a moment and then said in a very frank tone that he had not really thought about it or considered what topic to discuss in that lecture.
I came away from that event with the idea for this column, that is an article that talks to people who are going to attend these drashas next week and ask them what subjects they would like to hear about and what it is that the community they live in would benefit hearing about at this very propitious and special time of year.
So I sent around an e mail to about a hundred people and received about a dozen rather sincere and thoughtful responses. I offered to shield the identity of the respondents if that was their choice. Most chose anonymity but two said that I can go right ahead and attribute their comments to them.
The comments run the gamut from the importance of the forthcoming presidential election to urging the Rabbi’s to continue pressing the theme of warning about the dangers of addiction to the internet and technology in general to encouraging people to reach out to their neighbors.
Frankly I don’t know how a Rabbi arrives at a decision on what to talk about on this singular high point on our calendar, the Shabbos between the observance of the New Year—Rosh Hashana—and the solemnity that is Yom Kippur.
By all means it has been a great and even monumental year for our Jewish communities. There was the monumental Siyum Hashas in August where over 90,000 people came together to celebrate the completion of the Babylonian Talmud after seven and a half years of unified and communal study.
That seminal event was preceded by the assemblage of some 50,000 to rally and bring attention to the potential harmful aspects of unfettered and unfiltered internet use for both adults and children. The first event took place in Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands and the later at Citifield in Queens. Both events coming in relative close proximity to one another were unprecedented in scope and magnitude.
More in this weeks 5TJT.