Happy New Year. It’s 5768 now and I keep writing 5767 on my checks. Ba da dum. Okay, not original. But it cracks me up every year. I can’t help myself.
I am not a religious person. I love being a part of the community and I love that we’re passing down thousands of years of traditions to our children. But I’m ambivalent about a lot of things – including going to services. I don’t find meaning in reading the prayers. Those are someone else’s words. I like the communal singing – but lately, they’ve changed some tunes and they are unfamiliar to me.
What I do love about services – especially on Rosh Hashanah – is knowing that there are people all over the country, all over the world reading the same words I am. Talk about being a part of a bigger community!
Every year, I go to Rosh Hashanah Services and wait to be inspired. And while I recognize that inspiration and motivation (and all that good stuff) comes from within, I think one role of the Rabbi should be to feed that. To give us something deep and important to consider. I want that. It’s the least he can do – after all, I showed up. Right?
Today’s sermon was, how can I say this nicely? Lackluster. He spoke about “Why Me?” and Lot and about a congregant who lost his vision and about a woman with breast cancer. It was fine. But not inspirational. Not food for thought. Not something I came home thinking about.
So the service continued. I spent some time looking around at the 50% of the congregation that fits in the sanctuary. We have split shifts because the congregation is so large. While looking around, I saw a lot of familiar faces and a lot of strangers. I saw a woman so obese that she couldn’t stand up and sit down when the Rabbi asked and a young man with a bum knee who couldn’t stand up. I was secretly envious. I don’t like that up and down stuff. It’s distracting. And frankly, I think it was written into the service to keep everyone awake – on their toes, one might say.
I saw some teenagers that I remember seeing as young children. Wow, they grew up so fast. And I saw people I really, really like and never seem to find the time to see.
I looked around the room, thinking what it will look like set up for my boys’ bar mitzvahs. And daydreaming about whether their weddings will be there or baby namings… Sigh…
And then the Rabbi said something that made me stop thinking about mitzvahs and future simchas.
He told us that our congregation has a new Torah in the ark.
It’s 400 years old.
It came from Saveatorah.org They Locate and acquire Torahs which have survived the Holocaust from Eastern Europe and other locations throughout the world. They have them repaired and trace their history.
And then, they find them homes.
The Rabbi announced a seminar where we can learn about this new Torah.
Now that makes me think. That makes me excited. That is history.
I can hardly wait to find out more.