If I am not for myself, who is for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when? We start on this pathway of thought on S’lichot, our midnight gathering, which draws us into these Days of Awe.
With candles illuminating our path, we begin to pose the eternal questions of our existence. Through exploration, forgiveness, apology, we return to our best selves. Out in the garden, as the sun sets, the clergy will be using our congregational read, “Peace of Mind,” as a foundation for our learning and reflections by sharing sections that will be meaningful to those who are reading the book and accessible to those who have not read the book.
ABOUT “PEACE OF MIND”
In 1946, amidst a world still aching and broken by war, our former senior Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman published his book “Peace of Mind” in an attempt to provide solace and hope to a community that was struggling to come to terms with the war’s new horrors and hatreds. As we read Rabbi Liebman’s book today, we not only honor his insightful and compassionate legacy, we also find new meaning and urgency in his words, as we as a society once again find ourselves disturbed by newfound hatreds and institutional violence in the world. In Rabbi Loth Liebman’s own words:
“It may seem strange for a man to write a book about peace of mind in this age of fierce turmoil and harrowing doubts. I have written this book in the conviction that social peace can never be permanently achieved so long as individuals engage in civil war with themselves…. In this book I try to present some answers that have proved helpful to me about the universal human dilemmas of conscience, love, fear, grief, and God—crucial problems that present themselves in every kind of society, and, I believe, will present themselves as long as man is man.”
We invite you to buy or borrow this book and read it in preparation for the High Holy Day season. You can also find the original version of the book online here. We will be using four Shabbatot of Elul (Aug. 17, 24, 31 and Sept. 7) at Qabbalat Shabbat to lift up some of its themes and ideas, and we will spend an hour together with other Temple Israel members who have read the book to discuss the section on Yom Kippur afternoon.+ More... - Less...
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