Thursday, September 18, 2014

#BlogElul Day 22: Dare

I just read the point-counterpoint articles on whether you should take your kids to High Holiday Services. You should go and read them. Very interesting perspectives.

I get both perspectives, and both have their ups and downs. Frankly, it's interesting to see it portrayed this way, as opposed to previous generations of articles arguing for letting parents bring their kids to services (yes Virginia, once that argument had to be made).

(Side-note: my first year at Beth Emeth I flipped a High Holiday ticket over for no good reason and was horrified to find a note to parents on the other side reminding them that services were decorous occasions and if their kids made noise they should take them out. I was pretty horrified. Needless to say, that's not what's on the back of the ticket anymore).

I was having a totally different conversation earlier today (about Buber's "I and Thou", and comedy improv, actually. Seriously. I love my study group) and I think the question fundamentally comes down to one's own relationship with the high holidays (and maybe Judaism by extension).

If our relationship with the holidays is one of generosity--if our desire to celebrate grows out of a sense of loving engagement, be it with Torah, God, community, or all of the above--then it's an I-thou relationship, one of deep spirituality and connection.

If, however, it's a sense of obligation without love, or ego, or a manifestation of fear or anxiety (variations of 'I have to') then it's I-It, and while it may still be good, it's not going to have the depth of connection we want.

The question we have to ask ourselves is: what's holding us back from entering the room? What's keeping us from being generous with the holiday (or ourselves)? Or, what sends us into the room? Are we feeling pushed, or drawn in?

Maybe we're intimidated by the holidays. Maybe we had a bad experience at some point, a moment of judgement. Maybe they shine a light on other aspects of our lives that we don't want to look at or examine too closely (frankly, that's what the holidays are supposed to do, no?). Or maybe no one ever showed us the door in and, even when we're in the room, we feel like interlopers. Whatever it is, it's about US, not about our kids. And we as parents need to work that out within ourselves before we impose either choice or lack thereof on our kids' relationship with the holidays (or Judaism in general).

So, before daring to enter the sanctuary for Rosh Hashanah, will you dare to look at your relationship with Rosh Hashanah first?

No comments:

Post a Comment