Friday, May 25, 2007

Breaking News!

Hello all.

What’s new?

Can’t think of anything new?

Come to think of it, what do we consider new, anyway?

Doesn’t it seem as though the word "new" has become somewhat of a cliché?

Let's consider this oft-used word and its modern applications. Let's see. Massachusetts might be called "New England," but fact is that's the oldest part of the country. In fact, just last month I took a class to Newport, RI. Now THAT was old. So I guess "new" is a relative term.

What ever is called new will ultimately be old. Every new fashion will be old and outdated at some point. Of course, everyone enjoys reading the morning newspaper hot off the press with a cup of coffee. But alas, “news" is not really new at all. In fact, it's old by very definition -- it reported an event that happened. And the proof is that twelve hours after it arrives, it’s garbage. Oops, I mean, it’s recycling. Either way, it’s OLD.

So what else is new? (yawn)

New York? New Jersey? How about New Coke?

Someone once explained to me that a new car is new till you drive it off the lot. At that point, it becomes used (read “old”). Same with a new born baby. First she’s a newborn. Then suddenly, she’s one day old.

Can anything be considered “new” forever? Could something be new and stay new?

Sadly, but the whole idea doesn’t really exist in our world.

Said King Solomon the Wise: “Ein kol chadash tachat hashemesh” – “There’s nothing new under the sun.” What ever is born eventually dies. That’s just the way things go in an ephemeral world.

However, the Sages have another take on Solomon’s statement. There may not be anything new “tachat hashemesh,” under the sun. But OVER the sun, beyond the heavens, there’s something new. What comes from beyond the sun?

The Torah.

The Torah was new the day it was given, 3319 years ago, and it is new today, fresh and ever-relevant. Every year on Shavuot, even every day, we are given the Torah anew.

Every morning we recite the blessing: “Blessed are you G-d, who GIVES us the Torah” – not GAVE (past tense), but “who gives us the Torah” in the here and now.

There’s nothing new in this world, says Solomon, except for the Torah. Everything that comes to be is old a moment later. The Torah, however, is given to us anew every moment. It is relevant in every circumstance and every time, just as the day it was given at Sinai.

The Torah is the life-blood of the Jewish people. That is why we are the oldest people on earth and yet the most modern, the most deeply rooted in antiquity and at the forefront of progress, at the cutting edge of new discoveries.

Because of our connection to a timeless Torah, we are a timeless people.

See you in Shul on Shavuot as we celebrate our timelessness.

We will be starting on time, though :-)
(So what else is new?)

3 comments:

Rabbi Green said...

My apologies to all for the late posting of this article (i.e. after Shavuot)

I guess the concept was so timeless that it couldn't conform to the contstraints of time :-)

Just for the record, though:
We DID start the reading of the Aseret Hadibrot/ ice cream party ON TIME!

Thanks to all who participated!

Good Shabbos & see you in Shul,
RG

Mark said...

Great article

menachem said...

i think the aricle was great