First aliyah: Gen. 22: 1-6 Page God tested Abraham. Abraham said “Hineni” “I am here” And [God] said, “…go to the land of Moriah, upon one of the mountains which I will tell you”
This is a verse from Psalms that adds up to this year, 784:
לְמוֹלִיךְ עַמּוֹ בַּמִּדְבָּר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃
Who led the people through the wilderness,
[God’s] steadfast love is eternal
Abraham leaves the comfort of a domestic life, with the son he waited a hundred years for, to set out into an unknown land with a purpose that promises to uproot everything he’s come to know and love. Yet he sets off into the wilderness, with the faith that this is, somehow, part of the plan.
There are times in our lives when we feel called toward doing something outside of our comfort zone. There are many “wildernesses,” uncharted territories, that we travel, internally or externally, with sometimes just the vaguest sense that the journey is toward a more fulfilling life. A relationship, a job or career, moving to a new area. Certainly parenting is a wilderness that many are called to. This aliyah is for those who are feeling called, or ready to embark on a new path or challenge, and want to affirm this for the new year.
Misheberach: Ellen Jahoda
Misheberach avoteinu Avraham, Yitzhak, v Yaacov, v imoteinu Sarah, Rifka, Rahel, v Leah
May the one who blessed our ancestors bless you.
As you set forth on a new path
May you be blessed to use gifts that you have been given
May you be blessed to carry wisdom that you have earned
May you be blessed to call upon courage that you have cultivated
May you be blessed to step forward, — alert, aware, and ready — in equal measure connected to your past, and open to your future.
Second aliyah: Gen. 22: 7–12 … and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood…
This full verse, from the book of Exodus, adds up to this year, 5784.
וְעָשִׂיתָ סִּירֹתָיו לְדַשְּׁנוֹ וְיָעָיו וּמִזְרְקֹתָיו וּמִזְלְגֹתָיו וּמַחְתֹּתָיו לְכל־כֵּלָיו תַּעֲשֶׂה נְחֹשֶׁת׃
Make the pails for removing its ashes, as well as its scrapers, basins, flesh hooks, and fire pans—make all its utensils of copper.
Exodus 27:3 (Terumah)
Preparing an altar for sacrifice. This sounds like an archaic enterprise—in one sense, a physical platform on which animals are slaughtered and burned. But if we consider this on a deeper, metaphoric level, that “sacrifice” in Hebrew (korban) literally means to “draw near,” we open up to a deeper understanding of how we might prepare a foundation for bringing ourselves closer to others and the best selves we can be. This aliyah is for those who wish to commit to preparing the “altar of the heart,” to release separation and draw near to loved ones and/or to a deeper relationship with life unfolding.
Misheberach: Debra Burger
May the One who blessed our ancestors bless you, who have risen today on the second day of Rosh Hashanah in honor of preparing to be closer to the loving, healing energy that pulses through all things.
We know that this coming year will bring joy and suffering, occasions for celebration and for grief. May we be aware of this energy of Life Unfolding as we experience the support, love and sacredness that strengthens us in darkness and in light.
As we travel through these days of awe, may we pay special attention to the moments when we feel blessed and cared for so that we can embrace God more fully during the new year.
Third aliyah: Gen. 22: 13–19 I will bless you … And in your seed shall all of the nations be blessed
These are two phrases that add up to this year, 784.
אִתְּךָ אֲנִי נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה לְהַצִּילֶךָ׃
I am with you—declares YHVH —to save you.
חֲסִידָיו הַלְלוּ־יָהּ הַלְלוּ־יָהּ הַלְלוּ־אֵל בְּקדְשׁוֹ
Devoted ones, hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise Ya in the holy place.
Isaac, too, has traveled into the wilderness. And he, too, has been tested. Yet, where Abraham’s test has been an active one — he has been told what to do and he does it — Isaac’s test has been one of “going with the flow,” trusting fully in his father and in the events as they unfold. Faith is individual and even in the same situation, we are each tested differently. And we each know the feeling of celebration and relief when we have come through a difficult time intact.
This aliyah is for those who would like to affirm and celebrate their faith this new year. We will surely be tested.
Misheberach: Rabbi Ellen