August 25, 2007

The Rabbi's Plea

(This is a poem I would like to use during the High Holy Days Service if you think it worthy- please comment)

Tonight the mystics are about.
I feel their presence,
like ravens hovering around their prey,
black wings whoosh from limb to limb
looking for what God tells them to do, I suppose.
They have their voyage, as do we.

But we must be our own guide,
looking to the Machzor for direction
to a trip taking us into an interior
that no one else can know, except
for the Holy One, an obvioulsy busy
night for Him.

It's a bumpy ride into the interstices
of our lives, reaching back to discover
what has been hidden, actions and decisions
we'd rather forget, according to our American
values, which are now clashing with our Jewish ones,
sometimes ignored or conveniently "forgotten".

Think how much better we'll feel to offload these
distracting burdens, something only we can do.
It may be comforting to think of our dogs resting
comfortably, waiting for our return to wag their tails
in purity, living out their lives without such struggles,
or the gerbil, circling the world round and round
on his wheel, stopping to be fed and taken care of.
Or even animals in the wild, who must hunt to stay alive,
do not have to struggle with these internal issues,
yet it is we who live in abundance for the basics.

Yes, there is a mystery to life, especially at this season
when it is decided "who shall live and who shall die".
I pray for the whole congregation to wrestle with their
own demons as I wrestle with mine. Dealing with your
interior life matters, takes work, reflection, painful
absolution from people we know and love before
approaching the Holy One. That is the mysticism that
rides upon our backs.

The cold weight descends upon my body like an ice pack
covering my clothing, reaching my extremities. At first,
I feel nothing, until the cold seeps through my fingers and toes,
urging me on to action. And if I do nothing, I become numb,
not really alive anymore, insensitive to the needs of others,
reasons enough to continue to recite prayers, to try for redemption,
to pray for one more year. Amen.

Note. Machzor is the name of the book used on the High Holy Days only, which contains special
prayers-piyyutim from the 11th century often in acrostic forms.

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