First of all, if there is anyone reading this to whom I need to apologize for some way I’ve wronged them, please contact me so that I can make amends. If you don’t have any of my contact information, then leave a comment with yours. Comments will bli neder be screened.
Second: Rosh Hashana starts in just over 3 days, and I really don’t think I’m ready. However, one of my rabbis shared something interesting in his class today:
The Jewish people as a whole will not be wiped out (as has been proven multiple times in Jewish history: after slavery in Egypt, attack by Amalek, Haman’s attempt to destroy us, multiple exiles, pogroms, and the Holocaust, we’re still here). Therefore, if someone feels that they have not done complete teshuva (repentance), and that they’re not yet on a level that they can (which leaves you kind of hopeless during the Days of Repentance when we are all judged), a way to solve that (though far from ideal) is to become part of a group. If G-d sees you as a necessary part of a righteous group, rather than just as an individual, then He will judge you as part of that group, with the merits of the whole group, rather than just yourself. (It’s a gamble, of course, because you have to make sure the group is also comprised of good people.) So, for example, the rabbi said I was in a good position, being both the librarian of the school and the dorm coordinator of my apartment (two work study jobs)…so, if I were to leave my seminary, my presence would be missed.
This works on a larger scale too–the Jewish people is said to be a righteous group, so if you are a Jew, you are considered to be one of the righteous, or some such. And it goes back to the previous paragraph, about how the individual and the group need each other for this to work.
And that made me think of the last thing my grandfather said to me before I left for Israel: “You need Israel, and Israel needs you.” How right he was!