This past Sunday, we learned about Rosh HaShana. Your children should be able to tell you two things they learned about the holiday (hint: the current year is 5777… so when we begin the holiday Wednesday at sundown, the year will be . . . )
We also discussed some more the difference between literal and non-literal. The Torah is NOT meant to be taken literally (e.g., PLEASE note that an “eye for an eye” refers to monetary compensation! I see this concept misunderstood in the media, et al, so often!). The Torah is written to teach us how to live a just life (remember, tzedekah actually comes from the word for Justice, and is an obligation in Judaism), and be better people. We are not always supposed to take everything at face value. Similarly, one of the main themes of Rosh HaShana is that we are judged by God, Who will seal our fate (on Yom Kippur) in either the Book of Life or the Book of Death. But not literally! This idea is interpreted by many (including my very learned sister, who studied at yeshivas (halls of Jewish study) in Israel for many years) as more about whether we will be included in the community in the coming year, which affects our quality of life. Will we help make the world a better place in the coming year? If so, we will be sealed in the Book of Life.
HOMEWORK: Your daughter/son brought home our Holiday textbook. Please read the some of the chapter on Rosh HaShanah with your children, and if time permits, the chapter on Yom Kippur.
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life - - for a sweet and healthy New Year.
Third grade is off to a great start at SSJS! Our lesson for the week focused on tzedekah, which is often translated as charity. A big difference, however, is that the root word of tzedekah is TZEDEK, which means justice. In Judaism, taking care of those in need is considered an integral part of ensuring we have a just society, and it is an obligation (i.e., a mitzvah). Everyone seems excited to help make the world a fairer place by giving to tzedekah. We all helped decorate a plain, brown box, turning it into a beautiful, 3rd Grade Tzedakah Box. If you have any spare change, even a penny, please send it along with your child. To emphasize that even a penny counts, we read a story called The Very Best Place for a Penny.
This coming Sunday we will learn about Rosh Hashanah, just in time to celebrate this wonderful holiday next week. Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown Wednesday evening, Sept. 20th, and ends about an hour after sundown on Friday night, Sept. 22nd. I like to think of this as a wide window of time to celebrate, since it is often not likely that we will/can spend the entire 49 hours contemplating and celebrating the holiday.
REMINDER: Please pack a snack for your child! Even if you think s/he won’t be hungry, sitting with other people who are eating often makes one feel hungry, and I don’t want anyone to feel left out. I will try to bring in a package of allergy-friendly cookies for those who don’t have a snack; however, it would be best if you could send something.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, a Peaceful Sabbath,