Rabbi’s Corner: 500 Bags (or more) of “Wildly Unimaginable Blessings” – A New Year Challenge and Blessing

Curious about how the items in this photo are connected? Pasta sauce and candle sticks. Beans and decorations for my Rosh Hashanah table.  Apples and a new box of pasta. They are all part of our High Holy Day “Wildly Unimaginable Blessings” – blessings for ourselves and blessings to bestow on others.

Tonight, we welcome both Shabbat and the New Year 5784 when darkness descends. A double blessing! As we prepare to gather on this Shabbat-Erev Rosh Hashanah, we are filled with gratitude and hope. We take a moment to reflect on the past year with thankfulness for the blessings we have received and the moments of joy and growth we have experienced.

As we stand on the threshold of a 5784, we are also filled with hope and anticipation. Tonight we open the Book of Life to a new page, a new chapter, which we will imbue with deeds of courage and with deeds of love.

With hearts full of hope, we set our intentions for the year ahead: a year where we can each both receive and bestow upon others “wildly unimaginable blessings” – a phrase coined by our Reform Movement’s poet laureate Alden Solovy.

TBS offers many opportunities to bestow “wildly unimaginable blessings” upon others. I call your attention to one in particular during these Days of Awe:
Our 500-Bag High Holy Day Food Drive Challenge.

September is “Hunger Action Month” – in which TBS is requesting your participation to make a difference during our High Holy Days. (For more on Hunger Action Month, click HERE ): we hope to collect at least 500 bags of groceries (or more) for our HHD Food Drive.

  • 33% of those living in Orange County live below the poverty line;
  • At last 1 in 11 children in Orange County is at risk of hunger. (When school is out, even more go to bed hungry).
  • In California 620,899 senior citizens are food insecure and the number is rising as the cost of living rises.

(See Second Harvest OC website for more information. Click HERE)

Temple Beth Sholom has a well-known history as a hands-on social justice community. Through Monica’s Mitzvah Meals, we cook delicious and nutritious meals for those in need twice/month.

With our High Holy Day Food Drive, we have an opportunity to bring “unimaginable blessings” to those who are food insecure, to enable them to have the dignity and ability to prepare their own food by providing much needed grocery items to some of our OC Food Pantries.

I invite each of you to join me by please filling one, two, three, four – however many you are able – grocery bags with the items on the list below (and only those items, unexpired). Please drop them off to TBS between now and the first day of Sukkot (when we thank God for the bounty of our harvest), September 29th. We will count how many bags we collect and share the total number with you prior to donating them.

Together, we can start 5784 by making a small difference, by being that blessing for others in our community, and receiving many blessings in return.

I offer Alden Solovy’s beautiful blessing as a source of inspiration and hope for 5784:

Wildly Unimaginable Blessings
Let us dream
Wildly unimaginable blessings…
Blessings so unexpected,
Blessings so beyond our hopes for this world,
Blessings so unbelievable in this era,
That their very existence
Uplifts our vision of creation,
Our relationships to each other,
And our yearning for life itself.

Let us dream
Wildly unimaginable blessings…
A complete healing of mind, body, and spirit,
A complete healing for all,
The end of suffering and strife,
The end of plague and disease,
When kindness flows from the river of love,
When goodness flows from the river of grace,
Awakened in the spirit of all beings,
When God’s light,
Radiating holiness,
Is seen by everyone.

Let us pray —
With all our hearts —
For wildly unimaginable blessings,
So that God will hear the call
To open the gates of the Garden,
Seeing that we haven’t waited,
That we’ve already begun to repair the world,
In testimony to our faith in life,
Our faith in each other,
And our faith in the Holy One,
Blessed be God’s Name.
© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com

Wishing you and your loved ones a New Year filled with the blessings of deeds of love and courage, contentment, joy, health and peace.
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!

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