בסיעתא דשמיא

עננו | Aneinu, Answer us, a seliḥah in advance of the Shemita year by Emmy Cohen

After struggling with the requests in Aneinu, read during Selichot, I composed a list of requests and questions for this upcoming Shmita year. . . .

אלף באלול | Explanation and ritual for the New Year’s Day for Domesticated Animals (ראש השנה לבהמות)

Once upon a time when the Temple still stood, the Rosh Hashanah La’behemot celebrated one means by which we elevated and esteemed the special creatures that helped us to live and to work. Just as rabbinic Judaism found new ways to realize our Temple offerings with tefillot — prayers — so too the Rosh Hashanah La’behemot challenges us to realize the holiness of the animals in our care in a time without tithes. The New Years Day for Animals is a challenge to remind and rediscover what our responsibilities are to the animals who depend on us for their welfare. Are we treating them correctly and in accord with the mitzvah of tza’ar baalei chayim — sensitivity to the suffering of living creatures? Have we studied and understood the depth of ḥesed — lovingkindness — expressed in the breadth of our ancestors teachings concerning the welfare of animals in Torah? Rosh Hashanah La’behemot is the day to reflect on our immediate or mediated relationships with domesticated animals, recognize our personal responsibilities to them, individually and as part of a distinct and holy people, and repair our relationships to the best of our ability. . . .


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