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Honoring Our Ancestors and Our Faith

09/26/2020 01:17:30 PM


Good afternoon. The Torah portion for Yom Kippur afternoon, which we did not read this year due to our unusual circumstances, opens with, “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord Your God, am holy. You shall each honor your mother and father and keep the sabbath; I the Lord am Holy.” It continues on with what is known as our Holiness Code, which as you can see already from this one line bears great resemblance to our Ten Commandments, but also contains other necessary commandments regarding how the Israelites are to behave in the Holy Land.

            There is something in the juxtaposition of the commandments to honor our parents and keep Shabbat that communicates to me the importance of maintaining the traditions and religious rituals that our parents taught us as a means of honoring both our parents and our religion.

            We are gathered here this afternoon to say our memorial prayers for all those who have gone before us. On a Shabbat or weekday, if we pray as a community, we say Mourner’s Kaddish for those who have died in the past year or those whose deaths are marking an anniversary on that day or week. Only four times a year in traditional Judaism, and more likely only once at Ner Shalom, do we have the opportunity to all mourn together, no matter when our loved ones died. Even if those whom you are mourning today were not Jewish, again we see the connection between honoring our families and our religions. Now, may we do both as we recite the Yizkor prayers.

Fri, October 30 2020 12 Cheshvan 5781