"A Jewish holiday is referred to in Hebrew as a moed. This actually means a 'date' or a 'meeting.' In other `words, a holiday is a date with God," writes Rabbi David Aaron. Those who have read any of his other books know that this gifted and imaginative rabbi always comes up with fresh ways of exploring and explicating all things Jewish. So he wants us to think of the Jewish holidays as a time to rendezvous with God and to chat about important matters. In this well-written book, Aaron matches the following holidays with qualities that are essential to a meaningful life:
Passover Unconditional Love
Shavuot Responsibility and Freedom
Tisha B'Av Loss and Sadness
Rosh Hashanah Accountability
Yom Kippur Forgiveness
Sukkot and Sinchat Torah Wholeness, Spontaneity, and Anticipation
Tu B'Shvat Pleasure
All these qualities are crucial to the relationship between humans and God. Aaron opens the windows and lets fresh air into musty rooms when he talks about the commandments as "game rules for living," when he compares revelation to the traffic station on the radio, (see the excerpt) or when he says the following:
"God is the major investor in Human Goodness, Inc. God invested a spark of His Divine Self in human beings in order to participate in this world. This is the meaning of the mystical tradition that teaches that God desires to be in this world. God lives and participates in this world through you and me if we accept the mission. This is the real meaning of God creating humanity in His image."
Are you willing to be God's agent in the world on a seemingly impossible mission to incarnate love and compassion? You don’t have to be a movie superhero to accept this assignment, just a mensch who wants to live an adventure than will always take you into new territory. Then there's love. Does anyone really care about such a thing in a world where brute power holds sway, and there is always an excuse for not being loving? Here's one answer:
"The Baal Shem Tov, the eighteenth-century founder of the Hasidic movement, was once traveling in a wagon that was packed full of passengers. Even though there was no room to move, when he saw a hitchhiker on the road, he nonetheless urged the driver to stop and offer the fellow a ride. 'But there's no more room for anybody else,' responded the driver. 'What are you talking about?' said the Baal Shem Tov. 'All we need to do is love each other just a little bit more, and there will be plenty of room.' "
Many books have been written about the significance of the Jewish holidays. Aaron's incisive insights and his delightful illustrative material makes this a winner in an already crowded field.