Rosh Hashanna 5772

 

Author:

Matt Rosenberg

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This is part of the on-gong series of Divrei Torah being published on the NECHAMA, Jewish Response to Disaster web site and subsequently sent to our e-mail community.

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A very famous poem from the Rosh HaShanah liturgy, known as Unetanneh Tokef, bespeaks a multitude of calamities which might befall one during the upcoming year. We can take action. We can prepare. September is designated as National Preparedness Month across the United States.

Body:

 Rosh HaShannah 5772

A very famous poem from the Rosh HaShanah liturgy, known as Unetanneh Tokef, bespeaks a multitude of calamities which might befall one during the upcoming year.  It includes the following powerful words...

             On Rosh HaShanah they will be written down and on Yom Kippur they will be             sealed: how many will pass on and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by fire and who by water, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague...

This powerful liturgical poem evokes much emotion in us during the High Holy Days for it points to the stark realities of life.  We approach the High Holy Days in trepidation, praying to be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year.   But, we don’t know when personal or communal disaster will strike.  This month has already been full of disaster.  We have seen historic flooding on the East Coast and destructive wildland fires in Texas.  Of course, September is peak season for hurricanes and so we anxiously watch the Atlantic Ocean for signs of impending storms.  The Unetanneh Tokef is powerful because we don’t know when disaster will strike and we must always be vigilant.  But what can we do? 

We can take action.  We can prepare.  September is designated as National Preparedness Month across the United States.  It’s a month to get a disaster supply kit, make a disaster plan, and be informed about hazards, first aid, and CPR.  Take this month, this time of the new year of Rosh HaShannah, to become better prepared for any disaster that may strike.  As volunteers and supporters of Nechama, the better prepared you are to help yourself and your family, the more ready you will be to help neighbors and Nechama respond to disaster.  Visit www.ready.gov today to learn about getting a kit, making a plan, and becoming informed. 

 

L'shanah tovah tikatevu!  May you be inscribed for a good year!

Matt Rosenberg is a Nechama volunteer and a student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

 

 

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