November 2011 - Joshua Brumbach

pic_Josh_BrumbachI am often asked what I love most about being a rabbi. The answer is people. As a rabbi, we get to be involved in some of the most intimate and exciting aspects of people's lives - Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and other joyous simchas. However, that also means we are there for the most difficult part of people's lives, as well - funerals, sickness, the death of a loved one, unemployment; and the list goes on.

Our tradition emphasizes the role of community. The Talmud states "Kol Yisrael arevim ze ba'ze - All Jews are responsible for one another (b. Shavuot 39a)." This means you cannot be Jewish by yourself. The need for, and care of, one another is built into our tradition. The importance of relationships and how we treat others is even further stressed by our Messiah.

My role as a rabbi is part of this greater ethic of our tradition. As a rabbi, my role is not only to encourage, facilitate and foster Jewish life and practice, but to model and live out the ethics of Judaism in day to day life. It is also to help others realize that this Ahavat Achim, our love for one another, is not limited to or a privilege reserved for rabbis. All of us are called to be intimately involved in each other's lives. That is what true community is really about.

A Hasidic Rabbi once went to visit a good friend. His friend was deeply engrossed in learning Torah while his child cried in the next room. The Rabbi asked him "Don't you hear your child crying? Why don't you get up and go to him?" His friend, emerging from the reverie of learning, said "You know, I get so immersed in the intricacy and beauty of learning Torah that I often tune out the world." The Rabbi quietly admonished him, saying, 'If your Torah makes you neglect the cry of a child and tune out the world, then your Torah is no Torah.

To celebrate with others in their joys and to cry with them in their sorrows is one of the great privileges of being human. It is also one of the holiest acts of our Jewish tradition and of our Messiah.


Read more about Rabbi Brumbach on his profile page.