Rabbi Scolnic shares his favorite sermons.

2013: Who Are You? 

I'm fifteen years old and I'm with my family for the month of July in New Hampshire, living in a cabin on Crystal Lake, just beautiful, just idyllic, except that there are six of us in this little cabin and it rains and it pours for a whole week and we're all getting a little edgy. And then the rain stops and we're all excited just to take a walk down the hill to the little country store on the main road. And my mother says, “You all go on without me. I'm just going to sit right here and listen to the quiet.” So my father takes the four of us down the old road and we can see the country store across the meadow. I say to my little brother, “Come on, David. Let's take a shortcut across the field.” And before my father can say anything, we're running though the field until we get to a stream, and the steam is flooding from all the rain that week, but I'm fifteen, so I lead my brother, who can’t swim, into the stream but the water lifts him up and I just manage to grab him and we make it to the other side but we're wet and scared and cold and I feel as bad as I have ever felt in my life, because my brother could have been hurt and it was my fault. And when my father walks around the road and meets us on the other side, and sees that we’re wet and shivering, he doesn't have to say a word, because he knows that how I feel is punishment enough. When we get back to the cabin, we tell my mother and she is angry and appropriately upset with me.

2013: Who Knows One? I Know One

Echad Mi Yodea?
Echad Anee Yodea.
Who knows one?
I know one.

2013: WHO KEEPS THE DEAD ALIVE

So my father was lying on his deathbed, shrunken, skeletal, in the process of transitioning from life to death. And my son Danny walks into the room. He had just become engaged a few days before. He was almost the same age that my dad was when he got married. I’d seen all the pictures of my father at that age, tall and blond and skinny and full of life and confidence and ambition. And here was Danny, his spirit and image, tall and blond and skinny and full of life and confidence and ambition.
And here’s me, standing between the two composites of the same genes.

2013: SOMEONE IS CALLING Or Is Good-Enough Good Enough?

In August 2005, Collin Smith was 14 years old when he was a passenger in a car accident. The teenage driver of the car lost control of the vehicle and it wound up flipping several times, before landing upside down on top of Collin. Collin suffered a compression fracture in his neck, resulting in the loss of ability to use his legs and limited mobility of his arms and fingers, which made him a quadriplegic. He spent four months in hospitals.

2013: OPEN UP THE GOLDEN GATE

A lot of us have read Dan Brown’s new novel Inferno. The basis of this book comes from Dante’s classic poem about a journey through the levels of Hell. When you get to Hell, Dante wrote, there is a sign on the gate:
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

My father’s funeral was on a Tuesday. My siblings and I sat shiva with my mother in Maryland until Friday morning and then left to spend Shabbos and the last couple of days of shiva in our own communities. It was hard to leave and it was a long drive on a summer Friday. I had not been home in a week and it had easily been the worst week of my life. So as I drove the last few blocks to my house, I was quite ready to get out of the car.
Go to top