Letter to the holy Rabbanim of Montreal, Rosh Hashanah 5772
G-d redeems, G-d liberates. I am not locked-in. I couldn’t possibly be locked-in when I hold such a precious limitless future with G-d, because of G-d, thank G-d.
For the beginning, BREISHIT, G-d created the Heavens and the Earth resting contiguously. Breishit is the first word of the Torah. In it is the word “BRIT”, covenant, which surrounds the word “EISH”, fire. Together they form the vital definition of human civilization at its beginning. What is the covenant? Alef + Shin, Aretz + Shamayim, Earth + Heaven for the beginning. This is the covenant between the Heavens and the Earth and the Earth with the Heavens: Bringing divinity down to Earth, and elevating the mundane towards G-d. Each participating in the other.
Baruch Attah Hashem Elokeinu Melach Haolam Sheasah Li Kol Tsarki. Blessed are you our G-d, Ruler of the Universe who provides for all my needs.
Thank you Rav, profoundly for allowing my being to emerge from the underground. The coldest pain for any Jew is to be isolated from our people on the Holy Days. Thank you Rav for allowing my soft voice in your celebration.
“Dead is dead”, the kind but blunt doctor said to my family. “His inside mind is alive, but his outside body is dead”. “Dead is dead, don’t expect anymore.” But like one of those over-sensational dramas, the doctor started with great relief: “Look! The Rabbi’s left hand just moved and the right hand flinched and the left foot pushed and the right foot twitched.” It was beyond. G-d manifested in my small life. All the prayers. All your prayers became tangible at that moment. This incident repetes almost commonly; hovering angels come daily. Every limb reconnects miraculously, revivifying like in the Valley of Dry Bones. The body remakes itself with G-d’s help.
My beautiful wife, Karen, called my cousin, Rav Nachman Kahane of the Old City in Jerusalem. She asked him what should I pray for? He unhesitatingly responded: “Always pray for the maximum. Always pray for everything, otherwise you underestimate the power of G-d”. Pray for the all with unwaivering faith, and we do. In the Brit, from the Heavens to the Earth and the Earth to the Heavens, each is always searching to return to the other.
What a beautiful Montreal Jewry. Each institution makes itself relevant to the face of the holy. You allow the Rabbis to be Rabbis, insisting that each interpret the presence of G-d in your life and in your world. Everything of course is about interpretation and realizing the majesty of G-d’s signs.
Let me please give over this thought: Jacob (Israel) tells us to give our nighttime dreams to G-d and in exchange Heaven will respond. Our choicest idylls are our most perfect loves and imaginings sent to the Eden of Heaven through Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. This is where the Holy Temple will stand again. The Midrash says that Jacob’s ladder stands over him at Beth-El and the top of the ladder reaches the gateway to Heaven at Mount Moriah. Just like your prayers begin from your heart, and go through the Wailing Wall, to the Holy of Holies and then up, so do your dreams. Isaac and Abraham earlier were at Mount Moriah: the place that G-d showed them, in the morning of the day of fear and trembling on the binding of Isaac. Isaac went willingly; Abraham in unwaivering faith in G-d. The sacrifice of the ram in Isaac’s stead was the primordial exemplar of all Jewish sacrifice. Sacrificial fire reaches up from Earth to Heaven, binding the covenant of Breishit. Isaac began that day at the lowliest and ended it at the holiest. Jacob started the night exposed in the dust, but with his ladder, his soul ascended to the heavenly mist and he brought G-d here, to Earth.
Humanity should always keep seeking upwards as the heavenly abode quests to re-enter our dimensions. The universe began with chaos and G-d transformed the ubiquitous dark into interminable light. Heaven is made of one cloth, while Earth has the hovering deep on its outer force bordering the two. Heaven entering Earth dispels the chaos and brings more G-dly light into our world. Through this light we are revived and paradise is created anew. When my nape exploded, I saw the Earth null and void, the largest darkness I’d ever seen resting upon the face of the deep. But G-d transformed there as well. From my room at the Montreal Neurological Institute, where dreams rise to the Holy of Holies seeking the universal light, the Brit of Breishit, for my own Breishit, is renewed with every breath I take alone. Not alone. But with the unyielding light of G-d.Shana Tovah,Rabbi Ronnie Cahana, September 26, 2011