Thursday, December 17, 2020

Clothes, The Outer Garment of the Soul

 Clothes, The Outer Garment of the Soul

At Jewish Newport

December 12, 2020

By Aaron Ginsburg

Thanks to Rabbi Marc Mandel; edited by Vicki Kaplan

Also at

Rabbi Marc Mandel of Touro Synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island shared a dvar Torah with Jewish Newport,

“Mark Twain once said,  ‘Clothes make a man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.’  Little did he realize that this was the theme of this week's Parsha, Vayeshev.  It was the beautiful garment that his father gave him that helped propel Joseph on an amazing journey.  But it was a long journey. Shortly after Joseph received this beautiful garment from his father, he found himself naked in a pit. Suddenly, like Twain said, he was a person without influence.


“When Joseph was sold as a slave, he once again had his clothes back, and he was able to become a very successful manager for his owner. In fact his owner gave him almost complete reign over his household. But soon Joseph would find himself again without any clothes, as he struggled to extricate himself from the grasp of his owner's wife, who wanted to sleep with him. Once again, he was a man without clothes, with no influence, in jail.  

“Rabbeinu Bahya writes on the Parsha that, ‘The body is perceived as the outer garment of the soul. The kind of garment one wears is somehow related to the body underneath it just as the body is related to the soul within it.’ Is this what Mark Twain meant? Not sure about that, but certainly, Twain could have given a great sermon on the Parsha.”

About Jewish Newport

A dvar by Rabbi Marc Mandel, which often starts with the weekly Torah Portion, provides the inspiration. Since Covid started, sometimes I think of a topic after reviewing the torah portion, and ask Rabbi Mandel to write a dvar with that in mind. I try to find items that are interesting and, more often than not, off beat or fun. An image provides some pzazz! Along the way an editor cleans up my copy and makes suggestions.


During the Covid era, Rabbi Mandel discusses the weekly parsha on Friday afternoon, leading us through commentaries available on, an online Jewish reference for religious literature.

I was spacing out during last Friday’s session when I heard, “Clothes are the outer garment of the soul.” It sounded profound!. “Just what Jewish Newport needs,” I thought. “And how can anyone not be interested in clothes?” 

Poland and France

Mark Twain was following in the steps of Shakespeare. In Hamlet, Polonius gave his son, Laertes, some fatherly advice about how to behave during a trip to France,

“Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, 

But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man,

And they in France of the best rank and station

Are of a most select and generous chief in that.”

If Polonius thought that the French were better dressed, he probably had a field day comparing English and French cooking!

Polonius is Latin for Polish or a Polish man. Shakespeare had probably read an English translation of:  “De optimo senatore, a book on statesmanship by the Polish courtier Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki, which was widely read after it was translated into English and published in 1598 under the title The Counsellor.”[8] Goslicki was a Polish statesman and bishop educated in  Kraków's Jagiellonian University and at Padua and Bologna.

Goslki was the only Catholic clergyman who agreed to the Warsaw Convention of 1573, which guaranteed religious tolerance in Poland. King Sigismund II Augustus had died without an heir. Henry of Anjou, brother of the king of France, was under consideration by the Sejm. 

Henry had helped organize the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. The massacre began with the killing of Huguenot  (Calvinist) leaders in Paris and became a riot that lead to the murder of thousands more Huguenots throughout France. The Huguenot leaders were in Paris for the wedding of fellow Huguenot Henry of Navarre to Margaret of Valois, daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici. The wedding took place in Paris on 18 August 1572 on the parvis (forecourt) of Notre Dame Cathedral; the massacres began on August 24.

In 1569 Poland had combined with Lithuania to create the Polish-Lithanian Commonwealth. In addition to Catholics and Protestants, there were many Jews and also Muslims in the Commonwealth. Many Polish nobles were Protestant, and they feared a Polish St Bartholomew’s Day massacre.

The Warsaw Convention specified that any ruler should, “vow to preserve the general peace between people sundered and differing in faith and worship.” A delegation traveled to France to make sure Henry agreed to the terms. He did, and became the first elected King of Poland. 

Henry was King of the Polish-Lithanian Commonwealth for two years. When Henry’s brother King Charles IX of France died in 1574 he inherited the French throne. He left for France to become Henry III. When he failed to return to Poland the throne was declared vacant. 

There was a culture clash between Henry and the Poles. Henry was shocked by the weather and the rural poverty in Poland. The Poles wondered if everyone in France was as concerned with clothes as Henry was. Polonius knew what he was talking about. In the sixteenth century, being a well dressed guy would only get you so far!

Henry did bring some innovations back to France from Poland, including septic systems, baths that include controls for hot and cold water, and, speaking of food, forks.

Henry was assassinated in 1589. His Huguenot cousin, Henry of Navarre, who became Henry IV, succeeded him. To cement his rule Henry became Catholic. He also promulgated the Edict of Nantes, which granted religious toleration to the Huegonots. The edict was repealed by his grandson, Louis XIV in 1685. As a result, 400,000 Huguenots fled France.

From Poles to Clothes

That's enough about Poles. Let’s close with clothes.

We’ve learned that being well dressed affects the people around you. But does it affect you? I know I feel better when I dress up.

Psychologists have their sly ways of testing theories. In one experiment, people were asked to wear a lab coat. Half were told they were wearing a doctor's clothes; the other half were told they wore a house painter’s smock. Sure enough, the “doctors’ ” performance was better in attention-related tasks. “Clothes oft make the man” is a two-way street.

Psychologist Carolyn Mair, author of “The Psychology of Fashion” put it this way in an email message to NBC NEWS,

“Unless we’re naked, our appearance is mainly made up of our clothing. Therefore, clothing is fundamental in how we are perceived. In turn, this affects our sense of self-worth and ultimately, how we see ourselves compared with others, our self-esteem.

“Feeling of lack of control is one of life’s biggest stressors. Accepting that there are things we can’t control is helpful and controlling what we can, such as getting dressed, provides a sense of control.”

If you feel like getting dressed up, even if you don’t go out, indulge yourself. You will look better, and you will feel better.

Shabbat Shalom from Jewish Newport!

About the photo: Alyssa Perez, left rear; Julia Gonzales, right rear; and Kevin Alvarez, foreground, all students at the Academy of Careers and Technologies Charter School in San Antonio, Texas, model their creations exhibited in the "Hats Off to Fiesta!" event, sponsored by the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute of Texan Cultures, as part of the month-long Fiesta San Antonio celebration Photographer: Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-; Library of Congress

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Gift Giving Society

 The Gift Giving Society

At Jewish Newport

December 6, 2020

By Aaron Ginsburg

Thank you to Rabbi Marc Mandel, and Vicki Kaplan

Also at

P.S. gold star if you can read to the end!

Rabbi Marc Mandel of Touro Synagogue, Newport Rhode Island, shared a dvar with Jewish Newport, 

“There is a custom in many families to give gifts during Hanukkah.  How did this custom evolve? Some would say that with all the holiday gift advertising in the month of December, it's no accident that Hanukkah has joined the club. 

“But, what if the origin was from this week's Parsha, Vayishlach, which always falls around Hanukkah time? Yaakov is very nervous about his meeting with his brother Esau, especially when he hears that Esauis bringing an army with him.

“The Torah commentaries teach us that Yaakov prepared for this encounter in three ways: 1. He prepared for war; 2. He prayed;3. He sent gifts to his brother.  

“Gift giving is an ancient custom and it has many meanings, which is beyond the scope of this short Dvar Torah. But, perhaps, it can answer our question as to why we give gifts on Hanukkah during this time of year. 

“Happy Hanukkah and enjoy your gifts.”

Here is an excerpt from the parsha that shows Yaakov in a funk, afraid for his life and that of his family,and the loss of his possessions, planning to regain the favor of his brother.

וַיִּקַּ֞ח מִן־הַבָּ֧א בְיָד֛וֹ מִנְחָ֖ה לְעֵשָׂ֥ו אָחִֽיו׃ 

heHe selected from what was at hand these presents for his brother, Esau: 

עִזִּ֣ים מָאתַ֔יִם וּתְיָשִׁ֖ים עֶשְׂרִ֑ים רְחֵלִ֥ים מָאתַ֖יִם וְאֵילִ֥ים עֶשְׂרִֽים׃ 

200 she-goats and 20 he-goats; 200 ewes and 20 rams; 

גְּמַלִּ֧ים מֵינִיק֛וֹת וּבְנֵיהֶ֖ם שְׁלֹשִׁ֑ים פָּר֤וֹת אַרְבָּעִים֙ וּפָרִ֣ים עֲשָׂרָ֔ה אֲתֹנֹ֣ת עֶשְׂרִ֔ים וַעְיָרִ֖ם עֲשָׂרָֽה׃ 

30 milch camels with their colts; 40 cows and 10 bulls; 20 she-asses and 10 he-asses. 

וַיִּתֵּן֙ בְּיַד־עֲבָדָ֔יו עֵ֥דֶר עֵ֖דֶר לְבַדּ֑וֹ וַ֤יֹּאמֶר אֶל־עֲבָדָיו֙ עִבְר֣וּ לְפָנַ֔י וְרֶ֣וַח תָּשִׂ֔ימוּ בֵּ֥ין עֵ֖דֶר וּבֵ֥ין עֵֽדֶר׃ 

These he put in the charge of his servants, drove by drove, and he told his servants, “Go on ahead, and keep a distance between droves.” 

וַיְצַ֥ו אֶת־הָרִאשׁ֖וֹן לֵאמֹ֑ר כִּ֣י יִֽפְגָּשְׁךָ֞ עֵשָׂ֣ו אָחִ֗י וִשְׁאֵֽלְךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לְמִי־אַ֙תָּה֙ וְאָ֣נָה תֵלֵ֔ךְ וּלְמִ֖י אֵ֥לֶּה לְפָנֶֽיךָ׃ 

He instructed the one in front as follows, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘Whose man are you? Where are you going? And whose [animals] are these ahead of you?’ 

וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֙ לְעַבְדְּךָ֣ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב מִנְחָ֥ה הִוא֙ שְׁלוּחָ֔ה לַֽאדֹנִ֖י לְעֵשָׂ֑ו וְהִנֵּ֥ה גַם־ה֖וּא אַחֲרֵֽינוּ׃ 

you shall answer, ‘Your servant Jacob’s; they are a gift sent to my lord Esau; and Yaakov himself is right behind us.’” 

וַיְצַ֞ו גַּ֣ם אֶת־הַשֵּׁנִ֗י גַּ֚ם אֶת־הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י גַּ֚ם אֶת־כָּל־הַהֹ֣לְכִ֔ים אַחֲרֵ֥י הָעֲדָרִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר כַּדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ תְּדַבְּר֣וּן אֶל־עֵשָׂ֔ו בְּמֹצַאֲכֶ֖ם אֹתֽוֹ׃ 

He gave similar instructions to the second one, and the third, and all the others who followed the droves, namely, “Thus and so shall you say to Esau when you reach him. 

וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֕ם גַּ֗ם הִנֵּ֛ה עַבְדְּךָ֥ יַעֲקֹ֖ב אַחֲרֵ֑ינוּ כִּֽי־אָמַ֞ר אֲכַפְּרָ֣ה פָנָ֗יו בַּמִּנְחָה֙ הַהֹלֶ֣כֶת לְפָנָ֔י וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן֙ אֶרְאֶ֣ה פָנָ֔יו אוּלַ֖י יִשָּׂ֥א פָנָֽי׃ 

And you shall add, ‘And your servant Yaakov himself is right behind us.’” For he reasoned, “If I propitiate him with presents in advance, and then face him, perhaps he will show me favor.” 

This is a family reunion that might not go well. Esau had plenty of reason to be angry; Jacob stole his birthright. But we don’t know what Esau was thinking. Perhaps he was bearing gifts for Jacob.

Why do people give gifts? It seems like someone should write a book about it. I took an intro to Anthropology course at NYU from Professor Colin Turnbull. I still have a few of the books he assigned, including “The Gift, Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies” by Marcel Mauss. 

Marcel Mauss lived from 1872-1950. He was Jewish and was born in Epinal, Vosges, France. His mother’s brother, Emile Durkeim, founded sociology as a subject for academic study. His cousin Claudette was the mother of Maurice Bloch, who is noted for his work in cultural anthropology. Bloch and Turnbull, my professor, both studied people in Africa, Bloch the peasants of central Imerina and the Zafimaniry people who lived in a remote forest, both in Madagascar; Turnbull, the pygmies in Zaire and the Ik in Uganda. On his first trip to Africa, Turnbull got a job from producer Sam Spiegel helping to build the boat for the film “The African Queen.”

Turnbull was also interested in music, and his recordings of Mbuti music have been released on Smithsonian Folkway as, ”Mbuti Pygmies of Ituri Rainforest.”  Now that sounds like a catchy title. If you have Amazon Prime, you can stream it for free.  For example, Bachelor duet with Lukembi

“The Gift” was first published in 1925 in a magazine, and republished as a book in 1950. An English translation, which I have, was published in 1954 with a nice introduction by E. E. Evans-Pritchard, a prominent British social anthropologist. Pritchard points out that Mauss’s vast knowledge of languages, including Russian, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit Celtic Hebrew, other modern European languages, and the languages and cultures of Oceania (Micronesia) enabled him to compare many different cultures without leaving France. Sometimes he was able to understand field reports better than the original researchers.

In the first chapter, Gifts and the Obligation to Return Gifts, he contends that even where a gift in theory is voluntary, “in fact they are given and repaid under obligation.” He also says that before we had a modern, impersonal economy, people traded items by giving gifts, a “gift economy”.  He presents several examples, including the Maori and the Native Americans of Northwest America.

In the latter, in a ceremony called potlatch, wealthy members of  tribes that lived along the coast of Alaska and British Columbia gave gifts or even destroyed items to demonstrate their status and wealth. The system predated the use of money or barter. You had to be invited to a potlatch, and by accepting the invitation you were accepting the obligation to reciprocate either by a potlatch or a gift. Elaborate ceremonies involved many people. 

If you received something, you were accepting a future obligation or a challenge to give more than you received. This was a form of interest without using money. We might think of loans and interest as modern innovations, but that is incorrect. The words are new, but the idea is not.

Mauss analyzed so-called “primitive” societies and looked for applications in modern society. Theoretically, we believe that our economy is not a gift economy, but is that correct?

Mauss says, “In...our social life...we must always return more than we receive. He points out by French social insurance the community attempts to repay a worker for his service to an employer with “a certain security in his life against unemployment, sickness, old age and death,”  and that this is owed in addition to wages from his employer. Other examples are the philanthropy of the wealthy which is an obligation of their wealth. When we go to a party, there is an unwritten expectation that we will bring a gift, or that we will reciprocate with a party of our own.

He points out that “the rich man’s expenditure on luxury, art, servants and extravagances recall the expenditure of the nobleman of former times or the savage chiefs whose customs” he described. In all of this, do we do things because they are useful or are we trying to show our status and obligate others to respond in kind? There is often an unwritten expectation at a wedding, for example,that the gifts will equal the cost of the affair.

“We contend,” he concludes, “that the best economic procedure is not to be found in the calculation of individual needs. I believe that we must become... something more than better financiers, accountants and administrators. The mere pursuit of individual ends is harmful to the ends and peace of the whole, to the rhythm of its work and pleasures, and hence in the end to the individual.”

A gift, or any transaction includes an obligation, and that is what makes the world go round. Yaakov was aware of the obligation a gift imposes, and he hoped Esau was too.

Shabbat Shalom from Jewish Newport!

If your Esau is approaching, have your gifts ready!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Why is my left foot different from my right foot?

 Why is my left foot different from my right foot?

At Jewish Newport

November 7, 2020

By Aaron Ginsburg

Thank you to Rabbi Marc Mandel, and Vicki Kaplan

Also at

Room devoted shoes in Cluny Museum, Paris Publisher: Chilton Co., Philadelphia, 9/29/1897, NY Public Library 

Rabbi Marc Mandel of Touro Synagogue has a message for Jewish Newport about hospitality,

“In this week's Parsha, Va'yera, we learn about Avraham's hospitality as he welcomes guests to his tent on a scorching hot day. At one point, Avraham says to his guests, ‘Enjoy some water; bathe your feet and recline under the tree.’ 

וַיֹּ֜אמֶר הִנֶּ֣ה נָּא־אֲדֹנַ֗י ס֣וּרוּ נָ֠א אֶל־בֵּ֨ית עַבְדְּכֶ֤ם וְלִ֙ינוּ֙ וְרַחֲצ֣וּ רַגְלֵיכֶ֔ם וְהִשְׁכַּמְתֶּ֖ם וַהֲלַכְתֶּ֣ם לְדַרְכְּכֶ֑ם

“Why did Avraham tell them to bathe their feet? Rashi quotes the Talmud that explains, ‘There was a custom among some idol worshippers to worship the dust on their feet, and Avraham did not want any idol worship in his home, since he grew up in a home of idol worshippers and didn't want anything to do with this custom.’ Yet, Avraham offered his guests great hospitality and kindness, even though he did not accept their views on life.

“Is there a message for us today in America from this chapter in the Torah?”


Washington, D.C. A busy shoe store on the last day on which war ration shoe coupons may be used. Bubley, Esther, photographer June 1943, Library of Congress
This got me interested in the esoteric subject of feet! Did you know that two thirds of people have different-sized feet? If you are in the foot care business, your patients expect you to explain this.

In Cincinnati, The Center for Foot Care is ready, “One explanation is that since the majority of the population is right-handed, they can only comfortably lift their right hand and left foot forward without losing their balance. Consequently, the foot opposite the dominant hand is exercised more, creating the slight variance in the sizes of the feet.” 

That is one of many possible explanations on their homepage,

Many people have closets full of shoes that they rarely wear. Perhaps this explains why Imelda Marcos, who was the first lady of the Philippines, had 3000 pairs of shoes! Would you let your significant other’s shoes come between you?

When Abraham offered a foot bath to entice the visitors to accept his hospitality, which they declined, he was not concerned about how different their feet were.

Right now America is in a tizzy. Many of us are overwrought by the political situation and it is affecting our relationships with friends and relatives who disagree with us. Just as Abraham did not have a litmus test about feet, I hope we can let go of the politics that interfere with our human relationships. This will make it much easier on a personal level, and who will help us when we have to take on that dreaded task, shopping for shoes?

Certainly there are times when politics are more than inconvenient, and there is danger involved. For example if you grew up in the Soviet Union or another dictatorship, one could never be sure who was cooperating with the regime as an informant, either voluntarily or by coercion.

Jewish Newport wishes you a Shabbat Shalom and Happy Feet! 

Friday, October 16, 2020

In The Beginning God Created Carrots

In The Beginning God Created Carrrots
At Jewish Newport

October 16, 2020

By Aaron Ginsburg

Thank you to Rabbi Marc Mandel, Beth Ginsburg Levine and Vicki Kaplan

Also at

Let’s start at the beginning! It sounds simple. But in Judaism everything is open to questions.  

Today we read parshat Bereishit, beginning our year long cycle of weekly Torah readings. In his dvar, Rabbi Marc Mandel of Newport’s Touro Synagogue fills us in:

“As we begin to read the Torah from the beginning, Rashi asks, ‘Why does the Torah begin with the story of creation? The Torah is a book of Mitzvot, and should begin with the Mitzvot.’ The Ramban disagrees, and says that, ‘It is vital to begin with the creation story, because it forms an important part of our outlook on life.’

We are not accidents. We are part of a larger plan of God, and we must partner with God in maintaining this world. Indeed, as we humans face major challenges of climate change and social disunity, we must begin with doing our share to repair God's world. That is our mandate and the time is now!”

In Judaism, it is not clear who has the last word. So, Mr. Rambam, I will put in my five cents. 

If the Torah starts with creation, it is because it sells. Just look at today. DNA test kits and  genealogy software are big business. TV shows are devoted to who you think you are. We are fascinated with every scrap of science news about the origins of life, about the origin of the universe, and the evolution of hominids. There is a drumbeat of news about historic discoveries, be it in Egypt, the Vikings, the Romans, and across the globe. 

Clearly there is a wide interest in origins. Starting the Torah with creation addresses that interest, and draws the reader in. Why not take the opportunity to throw in a few commandments, even 613, at no extra charge?

But do our origins really matter? 

When the playwright Anton Checkov was asked about the meaning of life, he retorted, “That’s like asking me what is the meaning of a carrot? A carrot is a carrot, and that is all there is to it.” 

Chekov was warning us about being obsessed with the latest discoveries and philosophical debates and the use of “science” to justify our beliefs. Living in late 19th century Russia, Chekov was aware of the obsessive discussions of opponents of the Tsarist regime that led to fanatacism.  

In1863, Nikolai Chernyshevsky wrote “What is to be done?” which emphasized the duty of intellectuals to educate and lead the Russian masses, and encouraged idealism, asceticism, and fanaticism. The book was inspiring and persuasive with a logical and scientific veneer. How could it be wrong? The book was so inflammatory that both Fyodor Dosteyevsky and Lev Tolstoy wrote responses. It inspired Russian radicals, particularly Vladimir Lenin.

Judaism doesn’t discourage our interest in our origins nor does it oppose science, but it is sensitive to the misuse of science and dubious about basing ethics on science.

Judaism is concerned with how to be a mensch. We are encouraged to be leaders by setting an example. Russsian radicalism took a different approach to leadership, my way or the highway. 

May your life and your carrots be meaningful sans fanaticism! 

Carrot (and squash) fanatics should beware of carotenemia(orange skin)! 

Shabbat Shalom from Jewish Newport!

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Willow and the Compost Heap

The Willow and the Compost Heap

At Jewish Newport

Sukkot 2020

October 9, 2020

By Aaron Ginsburg

Thank you to Rabbi Marc Mandel

Also at

Rabbi Marc Mandel of Touro Synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island shared a message with Jewish Newport,

“As the year 5781 begins, we are all feeling a sense of vulnerability. As this blog goes to press, we have reached the grim milestone of one million people who have lost their lives to the pandemic. We feel vulnerable because we can't control this invisible virus. We feel as unstable as a blade of grass or a passing cloud. But the festivals of the month of Tishrei teach us that our attitudes can help us deal with our vulnerabilities.

“Once we accept vulnerability as part of our reality, we are ready to live with it and even conquer it. With a changed attitude, we can have the confidence to position ourselves in a flimsy Sukkah and still feel secure. With faith in God, we can maintain peace of mind and serenity in our unpredictable and vulnerable world. Chag Sameach!”

In 2005 I remember rushing back to my home in Sharon, Massachusetts after visiting a friend in Amherst, MA.  I was trying to arrive in time for evening services on the first night of Sukkot. I ran so fast to shul that I was out of breath when I arrived. To my shock, the shul was empty! I was a day early. 

While walking home, an idea popped into my head on Pond St. in Sharon: a website devoted to pictures of Sukkahs. I struggled the next morning to set up a website, and then went looking for sukkahs with my Kodak digital camera. I was so nervous I only found 5 sukkahs. And so was born. 

During Hol Hamoed, I learned about many more sukkahs in Sharon, even the ones that were behind high fences. Soon I had pictures of 70 sukkahs from Sharon alone, not to mention ones from Shanghai, China and St Louis, Missouri. 

On Hashanah Rabbah that year, it snowed early in the morning, and a gust of wind blew down some of the sukkahs. I ran out after services to catch sukkahs in the snow before melting began.

This year it has also been windy, and Jeff Weizenkorn’s sukkah blew down just a few hours after he erected it, even though it was secured with concrete blocks. Jeff is handy. He went to Home Depot, got some brackets and secured the sukkah to the cement deck using TAPCON screws

Hoshanah Rabbah is Judaism’s most visceral holiday. As always in Judaism, we say a blessing before starting. A youtube video at shows benching the lulav, etrog, hadass, and aravah-palm branch, citron,  myrtle and willow.

After marching around seven times while holding the four species, we take the willow and beat it on the ground at least five times for the leaves to fall off. 

Purportedly, this is a symbolic casting off of our sins; the gate of forgiveness that opens on Rosh Hashanah closes on Hashana Rabbah. But beating the ground with a branch is so dramatic and so violent, it must have more meaning.Is it rage or frustration at the fragility of our existence?

This morning, at Hashanah Rabbah services in the Temple Israel Sharon parking lot, Brian Silver wondered if we should recycle our willows and myrtles. As if on cue, Ken Sperber collected them for his compost heap. Rabbi Ron Fish told us to save the lulav for the burning of the chametz before Passover.

May you, your sukkahs and your compost heaps be well during 5781 and beyond!