Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rosh HaShanah - Shofarot, By Alesandra Zsiba

A Rosh Hashanah Reflection
- Alesandra Zsiba

I am continually trying to find my place in Judaism and to find its place in me. On these big, important holidays there’s even more pressure to feel Judaism, to identity, to be proud, to be comfortable, to be situated in an identity that gives you life and that you give life to. But how do we make meaning for ourselves in these moments? How to we let go a little, just enough to feel what we are asked to feel?

Tonight we are asked -- to feel our eyes turn inward, we are asked to come close enough to feel the body heat of our decisions, our reactions, our efforts, our words. We are asked to come close to those moments when we put in energy, and peel them all apart. Who was I in that moment? What version of myself did I employ? What specks of self surprised me and made me question? Was I the me that I most want to be? But on this night of immensity of self, how do we find our place in Judaism and our own way in?

This Rosh Hashanah, if you are looking for a way in, try hearing the shofar as a call of permission. A deep, guttural cry saying “Go, find it, find that way in to Judaism that is wholly yours, sacred and unique because you believe it to be. Because to be Jewish is to invest in your self. To ask your own questions. Aren’t lucky that we come from a tradition that honors questions, a tradition that calls out to us to be more curious, to go in search, to be our own creators, rabbis, cantors, poets, believers and seekers. To be Jewish is to stand face to face with your reasons.

There is a reason you are here tonight. A reason that tugs at you to remember it. Give yourself the time to unpack that reason, you might surprise yourself. You might find, after a little digging, a little asking the right questions (because don’t we all secretly know the questions that are most of-the-moment to us) you might find that your reasons for coming, are your roots, and they will, whether you know it or not, seek out their sustenance. Your reasons, if you let them, will bring you back to Judaism, in a way you can be proud of.

So, tonight when you hear the shofar call, close your eyes and hear it say this…

Come as you are
Come whole
Come empty
Come worthy
Come wholly unworthy
Undone, unfound, unkept

Come, raw
Come fragile
Come brazen
Come seeing far and sensing close
Come living in blacks and whites and greys
Drawing lines, and boarders and boundaries
Or come with nothing but open sky
Unfurling for days inside you, but come

Come curious
Come remembering
Come smelling your grandmothers smell
Come feeling the sticky palms of little ones squeezing yours hello
Come about to be
Becoming the oldest and the youngest
Come calling the call that you know how to call
Come holy
Come with your voice
I dare you

Tonight the shofar says, come
Come as you are
Come with the rise and the fall
Come swaying, for once, for certain
Come with permission
Come to know, with your eyes closed
Come diving into pages pressed tight
Come together to find out, to know yourself a little more fully
Come to find your reasons

Tonight, come as you are.

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