If you had one word to sum up your personal Jewish experience, what word would you use? 

As we approach the end of the Jewish month of Tishrei, with its five unique holidays ranging from the renewal of Rosh Hashanah to the solemnity of Yom Kippur, from the festivity of Sukkot to the joy of Simchat Torah, there's one word that comes to my mind. It's a Hebrew word, a word found numerous times throughout the Jewish prayer book.

The word is 'Ashreinu', and it means 'how lucky we are'. (Hebrew is a fast moving language, at times combining several words in other languages into one single word.)

Our world today brims with technology and science. What was military grade high-tech hardware just a few years ago is found today in the palms of billions of people. What was once SciFi is reality - the very term 'scientific fiction' is itself obsolete, with nothing being too hard to imagine.

Yet, ironically, when it comes to morals, interpersonal relationships, world peace and people being content with their lives, much progress has yet to be made. I think most people, regardless of background or political affiliation, would agree.

Yet, as Jews, we were blessed with a brimming cup of happiness, fulfillment and unparalleled satisfaction, a goldmine of inspiration and nourishment for the soul. This gift that we hold so dear is the Torah, which we just celebrated on Tuesday at 'Simchat Torah' - the celebration of the Torah. 

I write this not in a literary or promotional context, but simply out of the feeling that a gift should be shared with others.

Much of the Jewish holidays, experiences, Mitzvot and study can be passed over or practiced absentmindedly, but when given the proper attention and preparation they shine for the priceless gems that they are.

And so, for me, the word that best describes the Jewish experience is 'Ashreinu'. It's a gift to be shared, passed down and celebrated, a treasure to be held close and given the attention and care it deserves - for its dividends are priceless. 


Rabbi Avrohom