Rabbi’s September 2023 Column

Shalom All,

Just before the start of the High Holy Days each year, at Selichot services, the Baal Shem Tov used to share the following parable.

There was once a person lost in a forest who wandered for several days trying to find a way out. They felt a great sense of relief and joy when, suddenly, they saw someone walking toward them. “Now,” they thought, “I’ll learn how to get out of here,” and so they called out to the other, “I’ve been lost in this forest for a few days, can you show me the way out?”

The stranger replied, “I too am lost and don’t know my way back. But I can tell you that the road you’re on now isn’t the right one, nor is mine, let’s try to find our way together.”

“So it is with us,” the Baal Shem Tov would conclude. “The road we’ve traveled thus far will only lead us astray. Let us join together to discover the right way.”

As we prepare for the High Holy Days, this year, we should remember that repentance and atonement are our path out of the forest. Thankfully, we are not alone on this journey. Selichot services are Saturday night, September 9th. Rosh Hashanah begins the following Friday, September 15th.

Shanah Tovah U’metukah
May you have a good and sweet New Year.

Rabbi Todd