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Points of View
The Holy Days Are So Early
My Point of View, September, 2013
© Rabbi Jack Moline

Compared to the secular calendar, the holidays are very early this year. S'lichot falls on the Saturday night of Labor Day weekend. Rosh HaShanah is the first Wednesday night in September - one day after school opens. The fall holidays end before October begins. And Chanukkah begins the night of Thanksgiving. We barely have time to do all our sinning, let alone repent!

There is an important lesson in the coming sudden appearance of the Days of Awe. Though we are expecting the season to arrive, we will all nonetheless bemoan the lack of time we had to make the transition from summer to fall, from the lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer to the seriousness of the High Holy Days.

Really, that's how it always goes. Self-reflection as the necessary prelude to self-repair is generally neglected until something sudden and often unexpected is upon us. Medical check-ups, wills, investment considerations are far too often put off for tomorrow until necessity relegates every tomorrow to yesterday. Expressing our appreciation and love for family and friends in any but a perfunctory way is overlooked until a crisis looms. The conversation you promised to have about your instructions if, God forbid, afflicted with catastrophic illness or injury has been postponed since at least two years ago, come Yom Kippur.

Elul is upon you, and the New Year is therefore close at hand. Revel in the light of summer; do not surrender it to the anticipation of the winter to come. But the rabbis had it right when they said, "Repent one day before your death." The carefree days of life can be genuinely free of care if we attend to what is important and necessary before the time is urgent.

Al Barke

As in previous years, Agudas Achim will collect food during the High Holidays for ALIVE!'s Emergency Food Distribution Program. While supplies last, bags will be available in the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. Please take them home, fill them to the brim and return them on Yom Kippur Eve (prior to Kol Nidre).

Please bring non-perishable items (especially canned meat/fish, cereal, peanut butter/jelly, canned spaghetti, complete pancake mix (needs only water), syrup, dried milk, crackers, jello, coffee, tea). The need has never been greater as the number of food recipients in Alexandria continues to grow.

THANKS in advance.

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