Over the years the Temple has accumulated many sacred books, old prayer books and copies of the Bible, that are no longer fit for use. The books accumulate, and it is “assumed” that at some time in the future, we will properly dispose of them.
And so when I walked out of our administration building and saw that a very large hole had been excavated so that an old oil tank could be removed, I immediately had a thought: “Why not bury some of these books in that open ground?”
A geniza is a place where such books are stored, usually a closet in a synagogue. At some future time, it is regarded as a great mitzvah to bury the books along with a coffin, even as such books can be buried in any designated place. To bury the books (or other ritual objects that are no longer useable) is regarded as an expression of respect and honor for the values and ideals expressed in these books-and especially the name of God.
Some of our books were wrapped in heavy plastic bags and “placed” into the ground but moments ago. Given the virtually unlimited “life” of such bags, I wonder how long those sacred books will remain in their current condition. By clicking here you can watch as we have established our own Temple geniza.
We have long been called “The People of the Book.” We place great value upon lifelong learning, believing knowledge and awareness can yet lead us to a better and kinder world. Yes, our books are among our treasures.