The Ritual of Waters
Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz
The festival of Sukkot is known as Z'man Simhateinu, the time of our rejoicing. One of the reasons that happiness is connected to this pilgrimage festival is the ritual of nisuch ha-mayim, the Water Libation Ceremony. Although this is an unfamiliar ritual to us today, it was one of the highlights of the Sukkot holiday. When the temples stood in Jerusalem, water libations were performed each morning of the holiday. And later, in the evening, people would gather at the point from which the waters were drawn and join in festive singing and dancing. This ritual was known as simhat beit hashoeva, the celebration at the place of water-drawing. Mishnah Sukkah even states, "One who has not seen the rejoicing at the 'Place of the Water-Drawing' has never seen rejoicing in his life." The ostensible reason for this ritual is the belief that on Sukkot, God judges the world for rainfall in the coming year. And, in fact, it is at the close of the holiday of Sukkot that we begin our prayers in earnest for rainfall in the Land of Israel.
A beautiful prayer is associated with this ritual of waters. The Babylonian Talmud reports that when "Hillel the Elder celebrated during the 'rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing,' he used to recite, 'When I am here, everyone is here; but when I am not here, who is here? To the place that I love, there my feet lead me.'" Then God responded to Hillel the Elder, "If you come into my house, I will come into your house; if you come not into my house, I will not come into your house: 'In every place where I cause my name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you' (Exod. 20:21)" (BT Sukkot 53a).
Sukkot, at its heart, is about the intimate relationship between God and the Jewish people. Sitting in our booths, we recall a time of remarkable closeness as Israel wandered through the desert toward the Promised Land. Hillel the Elder reflects the quality of this relationship in his teaching. For it was in the midst of such happiness that Hillel acknowledged his closeness to God and to the entire community. His personal presence became symbolic of the participation of the entire group. Only when we take such a proactive approach in our own personal observance does it become a truesimhah for the entire community. Our personal participation in the holiday of Sukkot ultimately leads to the joy and participation of the entire community and nation-all of which brings us to experiencing the presence of God.
Rabbi Matt Berkowitz is Director of Israel Programs for JTS.
|May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
9/25/2013 (21 Tishrei)
9/26/2013 (22 Tishrei)
9/27/2013 (23 Tishrei)
9/28/2013 (24 Tishrei)
10/1/2013 (27 Tishrei)
Sidney S. Stark
10/2/2013 (28 Tishrei)
Allan B. Rimar
10/3/2013 (29 Tishrei)
10/4/2013 (30 Tishrei)
10/5/2013 (1 Heshvan)
10/6/2013 (2 Heshvan)
Sam Thomas Balkin
10/7/2013 (3 Heshvan)
10/8/2013 (4 Heshvan)
10/9/2013 (5 Heshvan)
10/10/2013 (6 Heshvan)
10/11/2013 (7 Heshvan)
10/14/2013 (10 Heshvan)
10/15/2013 (11 Heshvan)
Arthur Aaron Lovinger
10/16/2013 (12 Heshvan)
Joseph Irving FriedmanGertrude Nusholtz
10/21/2013 (17 Heshvan)
10/23/2013 (19 Heshvan)
10/24/2013 (20 Heshvan)
Naomi Lillian Markowitz
Irving A. Rubin
10/25/2013 (21 Heshvan)
10/26/2013 (22 Heshvan)
10/28/2013 (24 Heshvan)
Mary \Katz, Robert Braverman, Mr. Alvin Jacobson
10/29/2013 (25 Heshvan)
Fara Caplan Baer
10/31/2013 (27 Heshvan)
Mrs. Linda Kozlowski
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CHAG SAMEACH AND
Erev Shemini Atzeret
Wednesday, September 25th
6 p.m., Chapel
Thursday, September 26th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Services this morning will include the Yizkor service. Dedication of memorial plaque for Ronald Taub, brother of Alan (Gaye) Taub.
6:30 P.M. MINHA/MAARIV FOLLOWED BY HAKAFOT, SIMHAT TORAH CELEBRATION
Simhat Torah (morning)
Friday, September 27th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Friday, September 27th
6 p.m. Minha/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv, Chapel
Saturday, September 28th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch following services sponsored by the Kiddush Lunch Fund. Shabbat Zemirot and Birkat Hamazon led by B'nai Israel teens.
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
Next Shabbat, October 5th, there is a Temple Kol Ami bar mitzvah. There will be shuttle parking from Prince of Peace.
We have received a gentle reminder from the West Bloomfield Postal Service to PLEASE NOT PARK in front of people's mailboxes in the neighborhoods or on Walnut Lake Road. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. PLEASE USE THE SHUTTLE to avoid any conflicts. Future Shuttle Dates: October 12, October 19th.
NEW CORNER: TIKKUN OLAM|
Repair the World
One of the outcomes of the September 16th meeting of our Sisterhood was members stepping up to chair additional committees and volunteer opportunities for our synagogue. those opportunities will be listed here. Additional ideas and volunteers are always welcome. Contact Betsy Wolf,
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE, DETROIT
Prepare and serve dinner to families staying at Ronald McDonald House while their children receive treatment and care at Children's Hospital. This is a family friendly activity. Please e-mail Davida (DeDe) Robinson
if you wish to participate in this mitzvah. Available dates:
October 13, November 10th, December 8th.
DETROIT JEWISH COALITION FOR LITERACY
Tools to Teach Your Students to Love Learning
For new and Veteran Volunteers
Friday, October 4th, 10 a.m.-noon
West Bloomfield Public Library Meeting Room
Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, Detroit Jewish Colation for Literacy, Repair the World and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities
Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3, lower level
provided for ages 12 and under
Shabbat mornings, 10-11:45 a.m.
Shemini Atzeret, Thursday, September 26th, 10-11:45 a.m.
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
TEEN MISSION 2014
JULY 1-AUGUST 1
2013-14 Grades 9-12 are eligible.
Registration begins September 23rd.
Questions? Contact Danielle S. Longo firstname.lastname@example.org or call
USY Summer Programs Registration is now open. 9-12 Graders eligible.
Programs include USY on Wheels, Mitzvah Missions, Israel Adventures, Italy/Israel Pilgrimage, Israel/Poland Seminar, Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage.
Visit www.usy.org/escape/apply for more information and to download an application.
Upcoming Community Events
and TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
An Evening or Conversation and Song with Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary)
Sunday, October 6th, Temple Kol Ami
Doors open 6p.m., Show begins 7 p.m.
Tickets: $36.00 ($20.00 ages 13 and under)
$100.00 tickets include exclusive Meet and Greet with Peter Yarrow 5:30-6:30 and reserved seating. Buy tickets online: http://miipl.kintera.org/PeterYarrow or call Robin: 248-851-0463. Sponsored by the Michigan Interfaith Power and Light and Temple Kol Ami in support of Sustainability and Faith.
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
October 5, 19
November 9, 23
December 7, 14
Mitch will focus on Ashrei, Aleinu, the Kaddish, Adon Olam, Yigdal, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon.
Class meets in the lower level, Room 9.
Additional Adult Education Information to be announced in October. Please check this space for future learning opportunities.
Caring Community Information
Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery
Please e-mail Michael Golob or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729 if you wish to add a name to our communal mishebeirach list.
Congregant looking for a ride to services
West Bloomfield congregant is looking for a ride to morning or evening minyan and/or Shabbat services. Please contact Rabbi Robbins at (610) 574-5179 or email@example.com. Thank you.
25 Frances Chudnow
27 Erika Finn
27 Warren Lada
4 Ilene Miles
4 Emilie Weingarden
5 Beth Avadenka
11 Jonah Wolf
12 Naomi Reiter
15 Erin Graub
16 C. Michael Graub
16 Roxane Newhouse
16 Jordan Weiss
17 Lenny Jacobson
18 Steve Kaufman
19 Kenneth Brown
19 Ruth Kozlowski
20 Adam Marcotte
21 Annie Jacobson
23 Jerome Beale
23 Carrie Roth
24 Steven Dines
25 Ruby Robinson
26 Stacy Gittleman
28 Edith Wolok
29 Libby Beider
29 Adina Robbins
30 Philip Epstein
31 Benjamin Chudnow
31 Yael Duer
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ,
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.