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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
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It’s My Opinion: What Have We Gained?

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The holidays are over. The busy swirl of frenzied activity has passed. The Jewish world has caught its collective breath, the kids have gone back to school, adults have returned to work. and we’re all getting on with the usual rhythm of their lives.

We were filled with happy anticipation and sorrowful regret. We searched our souls. We feasted and fasted, prayed and danced, asked for forgiveness and forgave others. We prayed and we partied. We recited Hallel and Yizkor. The observance was indeed a multifaceted slice of life.

Newfound holidays fill the modern American calendar. They seem, for the most part, to be avenues of commercial opportunity. The Jewish High Holiday season that just transpired is very different. They involve biblically mandated holy times of celebration and observation. They are not Hallmark moments.

What is the real meaning of these days? Are they over when they’re over? What are we to carry into our lives for the coming year?

The Jewish experience of observing the various yom tovim can be an aliyah, an ascent, that launches one to the summit of spirituality. It can also be likened to a merry-go-round ride where the participants go in circles, faster and faster, only to stop exactly where they started.

Many of us are now experiencing the unwelcome consequence of the many calorie-ridden festive holiday meals that are part of yom tov eating. Extra pounds have crept on. They tend to stick to our bellies or hips with stubborn persistence. They are almost impossible to lose. Hopefully the insights we have gained from this time of year will adhere to our souls with equal tenacity.

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.


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