10/11/2012

Shabbat Bereishit

Begins Friday 12th at 6:00 PM and ends 13th at 6:55 pm
Shabbat Mevarchin 
(Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Next Tuesday and Wednesday)

Shabbat service starts at 9:30 am and ends at 11:45 am

Another year has gone by. We have experienced the most demanding month in the Jewish calendar, of conflicting emotions, tension, self-analysis, fasting and pain followed by pleasure and joy. It has been a roller coaster and very difficult to balance the Jewish and the secular demands.

I am struck by how many people come to synagogue for the long boring and difficult days but then disappear for the shorter more enjoyable and happy ones (although for Simchat Torah we had a really good crowd). But in general, why is it that only the big and heavy occasions attract the crowds? Wouldn’t it make sense that people come for shorter, easier occasions? Take Shabbat for example when most of our congregation is made up of people who come for an hour and a half and then have a drink, eat and chat.

Is it a matter of routine? To come regularly for a short time is a matter of establishing a routine that lasts throughout the year. And we know that regular routines whether in exercise, diet or study achieve much more than occasional overdoses or bursts of activity. When I suggested to one young man he might think of coming three times in the year instead of once he seemed surprised and shocked at the very idea. I wonder if intentionally people come only once precisely to suffer and so feel justified in never coming back if the experience was such a boring or painful or meaningless one. Getting into a routine is the name of the game and giving an hour and half to God and the community once a week surely is not such a terrible burden and there’s the rest of the day for other things.