Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blogging Elul Day 28: Giving and Receiving

As you can tell, my postings have gotten more sporadic than I'd like. Probably to be expected--the holiday is that much closer. Synagogue life is picking up. Preparations, before conducted in earnest, are now at a fever pitch. Selichot services were beautiful, as always. The sifrei Torah are now covered in their High Holiday whites. On top of that, we've mourned with two families in the last week.

And yet everyone is wonderfully calm. And I've managed to carve out some 'normal' time--I had my fantasy football draft (really, an excuse to 'hang out' with my old high school buddies), we introduced the boy to Star Wars (Episode IV, natch) and got to watch my son's mind get totally blown away. The dog's getting walked and the family is having dinner together, what more can one ask?

It was watching my son watch Star Wars (and watching it again for the first time in far, far too long) that I remembered how whimsical it can be, and how mysterious, two qualities I wanted my boy to have as part of his life from the very beginning. And as I watched him play with friends or do a project with me, I was reminded that, in our mad focus to make the holidays 'perfect' or 'just so' for everyone else, we miss the point of the holidays themselves. To make us stop and wonder, as Abraham Joshua Heschel might say, in radical amazement at the world and our role, however small, in it.

I don't know whether I'll get a chance to blog again before tomorrow night, so I'll leave you with the words I shared with my colleagues in DERECH (Delaware Rabbis and Cantor's Association, where I'm president this year):

As we each put the finishing touches on sermons and services and programs, prepare to gather with family and friends, and carve out time for—God-willing—real cheshbon hanefesh, may we find in our ‘work’ the avodah God desires and that nourishes the kol d'mamma daka--The Still Small Voice--within each of us.

Wishing you and  yours the renewal that comes with the New Year, and profound hope for a meaningful year to come.

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