October 12, 2016
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
A guy goes to see his rabbi. He tells the rabbi’s secretary that he must see the rabbi because he is so depressed.
He starts by reminding the rabbi his father died just three weeks before. The rabbi says, “I know, I’m so sorry. Your father was a wonderful man. Everyone loved and appreciated him. I did his funeral and was at the shiva.”
“I know, rabbi,” the man says. “Thank you again.”
“Of course,” says the rabbi. “You are depressed because you need to talk about the loss of your father.”
“Well, rabbi, not so much,” the man answers, “But I do need to tell you that my dad left me five million dollars.”
“Oh,” says the rabbi, “Well he was a remarkably successful businessman, and I’m sure he wanted you and your family to be well provided for.”
“Yes,” the man continues, “But what you don’t know, rabbi, is that two weeks ago, the week after my dad died, my uncle passed away, too.”
“Oy,” says the rabbi, “And is that why you are depressed, so much loss all at once?”
“No,” says the man, “But you should know that he, too, left me five million dollars.”
“Goodness!” says the rabbi. “That was very generous.”
“Yes,” says the man, “And then, just last week, my cousin Bernie the orthodontist died also, he had several clinics, and he left me five million dollars, too.”
“All this death must be very devastating and terrible. You have my deepest condolences,” says the rabbi. “No wonder you are depressed.”
“No, rabbi,” says the man, “You don’t understand. I’m depressed because so far this week—NOTHING!”
Read more: Expectations & Every Day - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Yizkor 5777
October 12, 2016
Rabbi Baruch J. Cohon
Here we are again, aren’t we! Joining in doing something we don’t do all year long. Spending the entire day here, together, for a purpose we all share. What brings us here? What can this concentrated day do for us that no other religious occasion does? Not a week with special food like Passover… not an 8-day party with songs and gifts like Hanukkah… just one solid day. Why?
We know why we’re here, don’t we? We have a goal to aim for, and it takes all day to hope to reach that goal. Last night in our services, we quoted from the Book of Numbers a desperate line that Moses prayed: S’lakh na la’avon ha-am ha-zeh k’godel khas-dekha – “Please forgive the sins of this people, in Your great kindness.” And he gets the answer: Salakhti kid’va-rekha – “I have forgiven according to your words.” Later in today’s services comes the poem that starts Yashmi-eynu salakhti – “Let us hear Salakhti – I have forgiven.” That’s our goal. That’s why we are here. We want to hear – to feel – that word of forgiveness.
Read more: Our Goal Today - Rabbi Baruch J. Cohon's Sermon Yom Kippur 5777