A Message from Rav Natan

There's No Holiness Without Preparation

Rav Soloveitchik, a prominent 20th century Modern Orthodox scholar, used to share widely his favorite credo or mantra, ” אין קדושה בלי הכנה there’s no holiness without preparation.”

I could not agree more with Rav Soloveitchik. Recently I was asked to guide someone before going into a mikvah for the first time. We talked a lot about how it could be just like a bathtub or a pool and how their mindset and preparation for it would change the whole experience.

Here at Etz Hayim, we have been working hard to create meaningful programing for all ages, tastes, and styles. It takes a lot of preparation from our staff and volunteers to make sure that all the details are taken care and the quality, or the holiness of the experience, is there as well.

From now on, you will see more and more RSVP requests to our programming. This will allow us to focus our communications efforts to the right targets and to create a more relevant program to those attending. It will make easier for us to adapt to all COVID protocols and enhance our overall security as well.

Sometimes, I would love to share a video or a text with attendees, to help everyone prepare for a program and make it a holy experience for all. Registering for our programs will allow you to get those videos or texts. It will allow us to know who is coming to what kind of program, so we can build the data over years to learn how to best serve our community.

More important than registering beforehand is to actually come to our events! We have a lot of amazing things coming up and we really want you to bring your holy spark to our community. We cannot do it without you.

Here is a short quote from my Rosh Hashanah sermon about making Judaism relevant to our lives. I can’t wait to be Jewish with all of you!

(CLICK HERE to read or watch the full sermon).

“I know that many of you here today, whether in person or online, are only here today because these are the High Holidays. There is a level of tradition that brings you here, that makes you feel part of something larger, something meaningful, something personal. I need to tell you something honestly: I miss you during the rest of the year.

My message to you today is simple: Let’s be Jewish.

I can’t be Jewish for you.

This is your own challenge.

I’m here to be Jewish with you.

I don’t have all the answers to all your questions. But I do have more questions to your questions.

Judaism is not a well of premade answers to all possible challenges you might have in your life. Judaism is not the goal. Living a Jewish life is an opportunity to make meaning out of our time together in this world. The goal is to have purpose in our lives. We will share the joy of your achievements and we will be there for you when you really need it. We will complement each other. We will encounter certain ideas and emotions throughout the year together.”

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