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‘Shaarei Tsedek’ Ashkenazic Orthodox Jewish Community – The Herman and Miriam Tauber Jewish Center Magdalenaweg #37, Curacao , Netherlands Antilles

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Rabbi Ariel Yeshurun - Rosh Hashanah 5769

Dearest friends,

Shanah tova!

The sun is setting on the previous year and rising on the next and it is, as always, a great pleasure to wish you and yours a happy, sweet and healthy new year.

We come and go about our daily affairs and we all lead very busy lives. It’s a habitual, dull, monotonous, repetitive routine; an everyday fixed practice we are so accustomed to.

In fact it is so engulfing and surrounding that we seldom realize the needs of the person standing right next to us. We simply forget out of being engrossed in pursuit of a livelihood or out of being intensely focused on running a business or out of the demanding commitment of maintaining a household and raising a family; all very valid and convincing reasons. But what happens next? Somewhere, someone is neglected. Who is that someone? That someone is you; you with all your reasons; you with all your responsibilities. You with all your real life challenges simply don’t have time to think, reflect and resolve.

This is a very problematic and complicated situation that needs dire attention. Anyone who’s ever given some thought about change knows that peace of mind and tranquility is crucial. Does this mean we don’t give any thought about wanting to change? Maybe. Does this indicate that we don’t dedicate time to evaluate ourselves? May very well be.

What this really means is that we don’t understand anymore the need to change. We’re not in focus on what’s really important in life. We fail to prioritize our lives.
Not all of us, but many of us.

Let’s be honest, are we better parents? Are we more considerate partners? Yes, if we used the previous year to rectify and eradicate pre-existing bad habits. No, if we did not weed them out, but allowed them to grow, mature and infect our personalities.

Yet the choice is given and is in our hands. HaShem assigns you that choice and you will always be imparted that same choice. It comes in different ways, takes on various forms and presents itself in countless possibilities, but in essence the choice is one: good or bad; moral or immoral; ethical or corrupt; just or crooked etc.

So where did we falter? How is it that we do not see the truth clearly? Why have we indeed not chosen right and changed throughout the year? 

I am sure you are all quite familiar with William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth.’; the famous psychological drama set in action in 11th century Scotland and England, which explores the capacity of humans to be affected by external forces. In this masterpiece both Macbeth, the murderer, and the three infamous witches, who prophesize of Macbeth assuming the kingship of Scotland after his assassination of the king and throwing of the country into an upheaval, express one of the major themes reiterated throughout the play: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair."

What is the meaning of this? If it is ‘fair’ how is it ‘foul’ and if it is ‘foul’ how is it ‘fair’? The answer is simple; here, by making such a seemingly contradictory statement, Shakespeare is taking us on a journey into the distorted mind. Indeed the choice is ever present between ‘fair’ and ‘foul’ and certainly they are worlds apart, but it is the perception of the truth that eventually misleads the criminal. If what is bad is perceived as good and what is wrong is perceived as right, then a perversion has taken place, the bending of light in a sinful angle, the creation of a distortion. 

We all suffer from this phenomenon to a certain degree. Our perception plays many tricks on us and in the entire scheme of things, considering our busy lives, and the daily pressure we’re under, it manages to persuade us in a very crafty way that there is absolutely nothing wrong with our conduct, and that our choices are perfectly in order.

So what is our solution? How do we shake it off and come back to our senses?

One word: Inspiration.
If there is something out there that can spark our emotions, something which can ignite a powerful passion, that something is a moment of inspiration. We can actually feel it in our flesh when it transpires. It actually generates, for a flash, a real sensation of wanting to improve and transcend beyond our lowly character. We’ve all felt it; a moment ‘bigger then life.’ Maybe during a gripping movie of struggle and survival; perhaps while listening to an emotional song; or witnessing an awesome sunset. Whatever it may be, we’ve all been there once or twice and we know how it feels.

This is the solution ! To again and again and again try to harness these feelings which humble you and make everything material around you so small, insignificant and trivial. A moment of inspiration magnifies that which really counts and amplifies it exponentially through the presentation of a powerful perspective. Isn’t that the very thing we should try to achieve in life? A real and genuine perception of what matters; of the truth?

It is an overwhelming and exhausting task to remain focused but at the same time our only remedy and if HaShem has charged us with this task we can surely see it through and fulfill it !

Ruhama and my children join me in wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year; one which will bring about the best in all of us.

A git yur!

Ariel Yeshurun


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