Often when we enter a Jewish home, we find a mezuzah in the doorway. A mezuzah is a tiny scroll upon which are written two chapters of Torah, the shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and vehaya (Deuteronomy 11:13-21), including the verse, "And you shall inscribe these words upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates." Whenever we pass through a doorway with a mezuzah, we are reminded of God's oneness, and our sacred partnership, our covenant, to complete the work of creation. As you enter our Temple Isaiah website, we hope that you are reminded of these things as well.
A Word of Welcome from Rabbi Zoë Klein
Bruchim HaBaim...these Hebrew words are translated as "welcome." Literally they mean, "Blessed be your arrival." These are the first words I speak to a bride and a groom when they step under the huppah. Welcome. Blessed be your arrival here, to this moment, as we leap into a shared destiny.
Bruchim HaBaim-welcome to a new year. There are many parallels we can draw between the High Holy Days and a wedding. We, Israel, are walking down the long aisle, full of promise and a little afraid. We are renewing our vows, recommitting ourselves to this relationship with the One who moves heaven and earth. We are opening our eyes to the godliness all around us, recommitting to our relationships with each other as together we form a kehillah kedosha, a sacred community. We remember our covenant, to partner with God and with each other to continue the work of creation, lest a broken world be left undone.
Shabbat also engages wedding imagery. We begin our service with the singing of Lecha Dodi, which welcomes the Sabbath bride, and we rise at the last stanza to bow toward the sanctuary doors to welcome in her presence, to signal that we are ready to receive Shabbat as if for that moment it is the very love of our lives.
Bruchim HaBaim-welcome and come in. We are at a doorway. On the High Holy Days we knock on our hearts during the confessional prayers the way we would knock on a door.
As you enter the doorway into this new year, consider the rebirth that can take place. Will you walk in proud? Will you come in knowing you have much to offer? Will you enter with joy, with presence, with determination? Will you come in with courage, with resolve? The mezuzah is tilted with we enter a room, tilted up, as if to remind us that every entrance is an ascent.
Right now, we aren't in Egypt, and we aren't yet in the Promised Land. We are in between, closer to Sinai, where Revelation is about to occur. We are neither here nor there, but we are in exactly the right place. Bruchim HaBaim-blessed be your arrival. And blessed be our journeying from this place to the next together.