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MY SHORTEST HIGH HOLYDAY SERMON

10/18/2017 09:22:21 AM

Oct18

Eliezer Wolf

Of the many sermons that I shared over the High Holy Day season, perhaps the most important one was delivered this past Saturday night, at the end of Shabbat Bereishit, which concluded the festival season.

Following is a transcript:

"V'Yaakov holach ledarko - And Jacob continued on his journey."

That was it. Certainly the shortest one!

It raised many eyebrows and opened many mouths. Let me explain:

I am confident that at some point during the holidays you experienced an epiphanic moment. You paused, reflected on your life, reevaluated your goals, reconsidered your potential, rediscovered a dream, and resolved to make some changes.

And then?

Well, that’s the catch. There is a large gap between our heightened moments of inspiration and our ordinary moments of day-to-day living. On a regular Tuesday afternoon, things seem very different from how they appeared during the Yom Kippur service.

So how do we bridge the gap? How can we translate our epic excitement into a concrete and realistic plan of change and improvement?

The answers to these questions are the subject of the final sermon. The Torah verse, which describes how Jacob and his large family left his uncle Laban’s house and travelled back to Israel, is symbolically chanted in many Synagogues upon the conclusion of the festivals. Let’s break down its message:

‘V’Yaakov’ – And Jacob: Jacob is a metaphor for every single Jew, because we are all descendants of Abraham, through his son Isaac and through his son Jacob.

‘Halach’ – He travelled: Halach implies gradual but continual traveling. Determined; consistent; patient; focused; well-planned.

‘Ledarko’ – On his path: This refers to the path you discovered during your stimulated moments. Stick to it. Believe in it. Don’t give up. It won’t be smooth-sailing. But it’s where you truly want to go.

During the High Holy Days we experienced some of our truest moments in life. It may be difficult to reenact those moments, but at least we realized our calling.

So, let’s hit the road Jack!

Wed, December 19 2018 11 Tevet 5779