We Return to The Stone: May we all be inscribed and sealed for life!
ICYMI - Here is an inspired and strongly-delivered Rosh Hashanah sermon - All Is Not Lost: We Return to The Stone - by the one and only Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, now the Senior Rabbi of New York's Central Synagogue.
Abq Jew knows - we all just sat through more than a few such sermons at our local shuls, just a few days ago. But Rabbi Buchdahl's (see November 2014's Rabbi Cantor Angela Buchdahl) Rosh Hashanah 5782 sermon is really, really good.
Her topic is - at least, on the surface - returning lost objects.
A topic near and dear to Abq Jew's neshama. That's because - many years ago, when Abq Jew first began to study Talmud (at the Jewish Theological Seminary), one of the first chapters he learned was Eilu Metzios, the second chapter of the tractate Bava Metzia.
Eilu Metzios (or, as we said at the Seminary, Eilu Metziot) deals with found objects. And that's important. Because people lose things all the time. Sometimes people even find lost things. And then what?
The Torah, of course, tells us that we must return a found lost object to its owner. But ... under all circumstances? In every case? What if we don't know who the owner is? What are we supposed to do then?
Eilu Metzios (28b) tells us:
ת"ר אבן טוען היתה בירושלים כל מי שאבדה לו אבידה נפנה לשם וכל מי שמוצא אבידה נפנה לשם זה עומד ומכריז וזה עומד ונותן סימנין ונוטלה וזו היא ששנינו צאו וראו אם נמחת אבן הטוען
The Sages taught in a baraita: There was a Claimant’s Stone in Jerusalem, and anyone who lost an item would be directed there and anyone who found a lost item would be directed there. This finder would stand and proclaim his find and that owner would stand and provide its distinguishing marks and take the item. And that is the place about which we learned in a mishna (Ta’anit 19a): Go and see if the Claimant’s Stone has been obscured by the rising water.
Abq Jew would be remiss if he did not point out that ... we don't have to go to the Jewish Theological Seminary, or Yeshiva University, or, in fact, any yeshiva or any university, in order to study Talmud. Thanks to Al Gore (Gorelick? Gorevich?) - and, these days, to Sefaria - it's all on the Internet.
But all of us have lost something more during this year-and-a-half of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rabbi Buchdahl discusses, poignantly, these many losses and how we can return from them.
But know that Rabbi Buchdahl's delivery is everything.
we call out the names of those who have lost--
My spouse. My sister. My friend.
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