One of the explanations given for the breaking of the glass at the Jewish wedding is to remind us of the fragility of life. Recently and on a personal basis, I was reminded of this concept when, within less than a week, I greeted my eighth grandchild (fifth granddaughter) and bid farewell to a sister-in-law. My emotions were on a roller coaster as I went from absolute elation to despair within such a short time. As if I wasn’t dealing with enough, and after having written this article once with just the information already provided, I learned of the death of my dearest friend, Max Drimmer, within the next ten days and while I was traveling with my granddaughter in Paris. This was a special trip for her that was an advance celebratory gift for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah. Helpless to do anything but accept the spectrum of life that been so vividly demonstrated to me in such a short time, my mind immediately conjured up and has consistently referenced the “who shall live and who shall die, who shall leave this world and who shall be born into it” phrases that are part of our upcoming High Holiday liturgy.
These words appear in the musaf service; we will dwell on the concept of life and death in great detail in our U’n’taneh Tokef prayer. The various fates that possibly await each of us are explored in this prayer. Again, in less than subtle terms, we are reminded what a fragile gift we have in the life that has been given us. We are reminded that life is, indeed, a gift from G-d and our ultimate fate is in the hands of our Creator.
Rather than dwelling on our fate, we need to concentrate on the gift we have in life. At our upcoming services, I hope that each of us can find time to reflect on the treasures in our lives. From my vantage point, one of these treasures is our B’nai Emunah community. As we contemplate the meaning of some of these prayers, that are only read at this time of year, may we be blessed with insight and understanding.
I look forward to greeting each of you at our upcoming services. If you are newcomers and we haven’t yet met, please make sure we say hello to each other if I don’t find you first! Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year.
Cantor Linda R. Semi