Rabbi Scolnic shares his favorite sermons.

One of the great Broadway musicals is Man of La Mancha, which concerns, if you’ll pardon my lack of a Spanish accent, Miguel de Cervantes and perhaps the greatest novel of all time, Don Quixote. In this play within a play, we see how the Spanish Inquisition persecutes Cervantes and we also see his character Don Quixote, the man who has read so many books about chivalry that he thinks he’s a knight, roaming the countryside with his squire Sancho Panza, tilting at windmills because he thinks they are giants, calling a serving girl the great lady Dulcinea.i

I’d like to talk today about our relationships with our loved ones and the people in our lives, and I’ll start with a quick Hebrew lesson that symbolizes what I want to say.

When I was nine years old, I saw a movie, in what was called Cinerama, a three-paneled, wide-screen panorama, called The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. I loved that film. The exciting parts were three fairy tales, filled with special effects and great dancing. The boring parts were about the twin brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and their lives, how the practical Jacob devoted himself to serious scholarship while the dreamer Wilhelm was consumed with fairy tales.

We want you to have a sweet year. But in my case, I’ve begun to have a tweet year. On the advice of my technical advisers, I have gone on Twitter. Twitter is a way of communicating through short messages by which one can send a message to many people at the same time. The challenge for me is to say what I want to say in two sentences; it’s sort of a new art form. So if you’d like to receive my messages, some personal, some thoughtful and some just fun, go to www.twitter.com/rabbiscolnic.

Our synagogue is in the process of changing from one prayer book, what we call the Silverman Siddur, to Sim Shalom, the new prayer book of the Conservative movement. In fact, Jacob is the first Bar or Bat mitzvah ceremony in this shul to use the new prayer book. Our shul has been slow to change, at least partly because of me. I want to tell you why I was so slow to change, but also why I found a prevailing reason to change, and why I now think it was so necessary. All matters of the spirit are personal, so I ask your indulgence in allowing me to speak in very personal terms.

So I go down to see my parents in Maryland. And even though it’s a plane ride of less than an hour, it’s a day with terrible winds and the plane is rocky and I’m feeling sick because I left my stomach somewhere over the swamps of New Jersey and I’m irritated because the rental car place didn’t have the car I’d ordered and I’m driving a car that makes so much noise I’m getting a headache.

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