MOADIM LESIMCHA: Explorations into the Jewish Holidays
Weight: 1.10 kilograms
MOADIM LESIMCHA: Explorations into the Jewish Holidays
Author: Rabbi Shlomo Aviner
It shouldn't take more than a day to clean the whole house, including the kitchen. Anything more than that is a stringency. If we are not capable of dealing with the extra workload we decide to take on, we deplete our energy and take out our exhaustion on our families. Not only is there increased tension between husband and wife, but we show our children a very negative example by shouting at them things like: I told you not to go into this room anymore. Why did you go in?! Eat on the porch! Eat standing up! Don't touch! The whole kitchen looks like it was overturned by vandals - the husband and children are trembling in fear in some corner and eating while the mother glares at them like a drill sergeant. Is this preparation for Pesach?! Is this educating children?! No, it is a reign of terror with the mother as Pharaoh presiding.
In Moadim LeSimcha, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner fuses spiritual, scholarly and practical perspectives, and sheds light on issues central to our religious consciousness and being. As Rabbi Aviner delves into the reasons for, and the intricate and multi-faceted nature of, each Jewish festival, he reveals the warmth and richness that lies at the heart of the ancient traditions. This inspiring collection will dramatically enhance our anticipation and appreciation of each holiday, and will deepen the love of Judaism, Israel and the festivals.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is the best-selling author of over 50 works, ranging from philosophy to Jewish Law. He is considered to be a prominent voice on current events and topics of wide Jewish interest, and is featured in many leading newspapers and magazines across the world. A disciple of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook, he is also the Rosh Yeshiva of Ateret Kohanim and the Rabbi of Beit El. In this volume, Rabbi Aviner introduces the reader to the philosophy of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook and uses the festivals as a springboard to discuss many aspects of Jewish philosophy.
hardcover, 208 pages
Publication: September 2002
Praise for Moadim Lesimcha:
Moadim Lesimcha: Explorations Into The Jewish Holidays celebrates the author's love for the rich cultural heritage that lies within Jewish festivals, and also offers author Rabbi Shlomo Aviner's thoughtful comments on the present and future state of the world from a Judaic perspective. Emphasizing that taking care of the physical world is as important as developing the spiritual world through the study of the Torah, and claiming that too much stringency in keeping a clean and orderly house promotes harm and disharmony, among many other points.
Moadim Lesimcha is a profound, informative and thought-provoking treatise, and a highly recommended addition to personal and academic Judaic Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
Midwest Book Review
One of the spiritual leaders of this Hardal phenomenon is Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, rabbi of the Bet El settlement north of Jerusalem and head of the Jerusalem Ateret Kohanim Yeshiva. He is a prominent and controversial figure on the Israeli public scene.... Yet he remains almost entirely unknown outside Israel.
Aviner's recent book, "Moadim Lesimcha: Explorations into the Jewish Holidays," is an excellent starting point for exploring aspects of his spiritual world and values. Festivals are indeed designed to locate and celebrate values; they are liturgical occasions for public discourse on "the inner meaning" of these special days.
Providing a window into his own values, Aviner pinpoints value issues germane to each festival: Around the theme of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur he addresses the concept of repentance; for Sukkot he discusses the desirable relationship between the material and the spiritual; on Chanukah he reflects on miracles; theodicy preoccupies him on Holocaust Remembrance Day; on Israel Independence Day he explains "the process of redemption," and so forth.
The pattern of discourse that characterizes this book may be stated as follows: Aviner, taking off from the themes underlying the festivals in midrashic and exegetical literature, states their central ideas, and thereby gives us a kind of theological infrastructure of Judaism. (Herein he exemplifies an educational maxim attributed to the 19th-century neo-Orthodox Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch that "the catechism of the Jew is his calendar.") From these systematically stated "ideas" flow the values that stipulate valued (i.e. good) attitudes and actions, which, in turn, are readily translated into a detailed program for the commanded life.
The title of this book comes from "Vateeten Lanu MOADIM LESIMCHA chagim U'zmanim L'sasson" (and You have given us holidays on which we rejoice, festivals and times for jubilation...). Rabbi Shlomo Aviner has written about 50 books, nearly all are in Hebrew. The rabbi of the Israeli settlement of Beit El, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva, and a follower of Rabbi Kook's son, Aviner's writings have influenced several branches of Orthodox Judaism, Gush Emunim, and religious/messianic segments of Israel's West Bank settlers. This book has translated many of Aviner's essays into English, especially drawing from his book, "Tal Herman." When reading his essays, keep in mind that his brand of religious nationalist Zionism has tried to justify the removal of rights for Palestinians and tried to stamp out any type of a Palestinian state. Yet, putting that aside for a moment, Aviner reminds the reader that along the Jewish calendar, the Jewish holidays have a theme that one should study and act upon. Aviner criticizes those obsessive compulsive co-religionists who focus on stringently cleaning every bit of bread crumbs from their homes prior to Passover and forget the holiday's spiritual theme. His Hanukkah theme is that of faith versus miracles, and miracles from god for those who act like the Macabees. His essays reinforce the idea of action and a strain of militarism can be read between the lines. When discussing the Purim story, he portrays Mordechai as strong, self-confident, and proud when he does not capitulate to Haman. His Purim essays include the titles, "The Mitzvah to Drink," and "Kneelings Saps Our Strength." His essay on Sukkot he addresses the material world and the spiritual. His discussion on Rosh Hashana discusses repentance and its centrality in the universe.