In a recent sermon, I spoke about an interesting issue that occurs when we have a leap year. The Jewish calendar adds the month of Adar—Adar 2. Since being standardized by the Sanhedrin in the days of Hillel II, in 358Ce, the leap month falls seven times in a 19 year cycle, thus appearing in the Jewish calendar every three, sometimes every two years. The question arises: what happens when a loved one has died in the month of Adar of a regular year? Does the relative say Kaddish on Adar 1 or in the month in which we celebrate Purim, Adar 2? In other words, will the real Adar please stand up!
Our Haverware follows a majority Ashkenazic opinion; that Kaddish should be said on Adar 1. One should say Kaddish and fast in that month if that is one’s custom. Adar is Adar is Adar, as it’s listed on the calendar, and it comes first. To not say Kaddish at that time is to ‘squander a mitzvah’. On the other hand, many major rabbinic authorities, such as Rambam, view the real Adar as Adar 2. The real Adar, they say, is the one closest to Pesach, because the miracle of Purim began when Achashverush couldn’t sleep, and that was on the night of Pesach. They also view the real Adar as Adar 2 because we connect the rescue of Purim to the rescue of Pesach. We observe Purim and all of its customs in Adar 2. Finally, they say that it is Adar 2 because Purim and the Megillah are absolutely observed in Adar 2. Adar 2 is primary and yahrzeit and Kaddish should be said on Adar2!
There is also the opinion of the Tashbetz, who tells us to say Kaddish the first year in Adar 1 (the end of twelve months) and in all subsequent years in Adar 2. And then there are Rabbis such as Shlomo Luria and the Kol Bo Aveilut, who say Kaddish should be said on both Adars! Dizzy yet? I hope so, because on Adar we are supposed to be a bit off kilter. My advice: listen to Haverware; it will guide you nicely. But truly, you have a choice and may institute your own custom, so long as you hold to it from leap year to leap year!
I am quite sure that you share my sentiments–When will the spring weather be arriving?
I am so excited that we have a dozen adults in my Adult Hebrew Reading Class, which meets every Thursday evening at 7:15 p.m. for exactly one hour. In the one hour, I also take less than three minutes to discuss a Talmudic thought related to prayer, as we ultimately utilize our Hebrew reading skills to read prayers and other texts. I would like to share with you briefly the short text that I will share with these dedicated folks this week.
The Ashrei prayer is one of the more beautiful and meaningful ones that can be found in the Siddur. There are numerous beautiful quotations to found in this text.
• Dor l'dor y'shbach ma-asecha– "Each generation will praise your deeds to the next and your mighty deeds they will tell."
How magnificent an ideal this sentence is with a very powerful message to all of us. How will each generation praise your deeds to the next generation? I am sure that you know the answer without my commentary. We all have an obligation to educate our children/grandchildren and imbue them with a love of Torah, Judaism and the performance of mitzvot. If we fail in this obligation, future generations will not have the knowledge, commitment and love of Torah in which case the generational concept of a commitment to Judaism will have failed.
• Potei-ach et yadecha– "You open Your hand to satisfy the desire of all living things."
Once again, a powerful and important fact for us to be aware of at all times. G-d always opens His hand to provide for all of us at all times. It further focuses on the fact that WE need to follow G-d's important example. We are also told in the Talmud that as G-d comforts all mourners, we should also comfort the mourners; as G-d visits the sick, we too should care for the ill etc. This is such a powerful and essential ideal to each and every one of us. It is imperative that we act in a Godly manner to all with whom we come in contact. We have an active Chesed Committee who endeavor to extend kindness to the ill of our congregation by delivering a Shabbat meal on Fridays and, when called upon, drive members of our Congregation to Doctors appointments etc. This sentence reminds us that we all need to care for each other at all times. When we hear of a person who is ill or suffered the loss of a loved one, reach out to these fellow congregants and reflect our total support in any way possible! Perhaps attend our week day evening services once in awhile and make it possible for us to daven and pray with a minyan and further, allow all mourners to recite the Kaddish.
I wish you one and all a chodesh tov–a wonderful new month.
American Jews overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people, according to a major new survey by the Pew Research Center. The survey also suggests that Jewish identity is changing in America.
Despite the changes in Jewish identity in America, 94% of U.S. Jews (including 97% of Jews by religion and 83% of Jews of no religion) say they are proud to be Jewish. Three-quarters of U.S. Jews (including 85% of Jews by religion and 42% of Jews of no religion) also say they have “a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people.” And emotional attachment to Israel has not waned discernibly among American Jews in the past decade.
These are just two excerpts from the Pew Research Center’s survey of U.S. Jews, conducted on landlines and cell phones among 3,475 Jews across the country from Feb. 20 - June 13, 2013.
The mere fact that you are reading this article implies that you are among the category of Jews by religion, and that you care about the continuity of Jewish life for your family and your community. I tend to be a “the glass is half full” kind of person and therefore I have chosen to share some encouraging facts with you. To read more of the report just Google Pew Research report on Jews in America.
As part of the less than 2% of US adults who say they are Jewish when asked about their religion, here are just a few things you can do Jewishly this month at ENJC and within the community-
• Attend 1 of 2 Sulam Shabbats on Saturday morning, March 1st and support the new young leadership of ENJC as they lead us in prayer.
• Join your friends and make new friends at Shabbat Across America dinner and services on Friday, March 7th.
• Send Shalach Manot to congregational friends in celebration of Purim.
• Attend the Sisterhood book-swap on Tuesday, March 11th and find a good book to read and get to know some great women.
• Donate nonperishable food for those in need through a joint effort of ENJC, UJA and AmeriCorps during our Pack it Up for Purim Program
• Buy an ENJC Tee shirt and help support the many programs sponsored by Men’s Club.
• Come to the Megillah reading on Saturday evening, March 15th or bring your kids to the children’s reading and puppet show on Sunday morning, then have fun with your kids at the Suffolk JCC Purim Carnival.
• Join members of neighboring synagogues at Dix Hills Jewish Center on Tuesday, March 18th to hear the Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary speak on “Why Judaism Matters”
• Participate in the Sisterhood and Men’s Club Shabbats on Friday March 21st and 28th.
• Attend the ENJC Congregational meeting on Tuesday, March 25th to learn who will comprise the ENJC Board of Directors for the 2014-15 term of office.
You have already made the right decision to support a conservative synagogue in your community and to include Judaism in your life- why not take advantage of what we have to offer! Read More