D’var Torah: Spin the dreidel?

With December comes the Chanukah festival and the reminders of ancient myths and stories…and, of course, food!

Rabbi Richard AddressThe driedel game is also an interesting symbol of something that is becoming increasingly clear to we baby boomers. I refer to the randomness of so much of our lives.

It is almost as if we spin some mythical driedel every day and where it lands, we do not know. And how we choose to deal with that randomness says a lot about who we are and what we will become.

I think that this sense of the unknown and how we can deal with it is one of the great fascinations of the book of Job in the Bible. It is also quite possibly an underlying reason for the interest in the new movie “A Serious Man,” which has received a wide range of reviews. I liked the film and encourage you to see it and discuss it with some of your friends. It does raise, in interesting ways, the challenges of how a man tries to deal with his life as it seems to unravel. There is even, channeling Job, a “Whirlwind” reference as the film ends. So, as we spin that driedel with our children, friends and grandchildren, quietly contemplate the randomness of life and, as the tradition tells us, in the face of that reality, choose to sanctify life and count the blessings that we have.

This month we call your attention to a few new items.

Dr. Robert Lester has given us permission to reprint his powerful testimony on care-giving in light of Alzheimer’s. This was given at a session at a recent URJ Biennial convention and is found in the CARE-GIVING section as the latest example of MY STORY.

Dr. Freidman follows up his November posting on Spirituality and Medicine with a new aspect of the journey in THOUGHT PIECES, and we are printing up this month a new program on health that is being tried out at a New Jersey congregation (see RITUALS AND PROGRAMS)

Finally, we call your attention to the new CONSULTING AND WORKSHOPS page which lists a few suggested workshops available to your congregation or agency if you decide to explore this impact of the baby boomers and the longevity revolution in contemporary Judaism.

We appreciate hearing from you with comments and suggestions and thank one of our readers who urged us to go to a larger font size on the site. Keep those comments and suggestions coming and while we are thanking people, we need to say a special thank you to Mr. Steve Drake of Fastteks.com. Steve is the person who puts all of the content together and makes  the site happen, so thank you Steve.

No matter which religious tradition you come from, this month contains special celebrations that are filled with powerful messages of faith and personal growth. May those messages inspire you to live and grow and achieve in that faith and embraced by love.


Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min


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