I’m having one of those rabbinic days. I met with a mother this morning to discuss her son’s upcoming bris. I’m honoring the memory of a 97 year old woman as I conduct her funeral this afternoon. And then I have a rehearsal with a young man for his approaching Bar Mitzvah. It’s these days that span the life cycle that remind me of why I do what I do. Especially on a day where so much of my time is being focused on preparation for these events, not even on the events themselves, I’m reminded that of why I think that these moments are important.
Because I believe in all of this. I believe that these ritual moments, scattered throughout our lives, really work. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there’s any sort of magic that goes along with them–or that marking these moments Jewishly has any sort of cosmic impact. But I do believe that these moments have power. That by taking part in these ceremonies, we are able to elevate our existence for a moment–and that we are able to find comfort, or joy, or meaning, or understanding, or insight in a different way.
I know that by welcoming a new child, a family celebrates a change in their life; but by taking part in the ritual of Brit Milah, that family is able to consider that child’s life in a different way, as they give themselves the opportunity to reflect on their homes and dreams for that child. I realize that by the act of turning 13 as a Jew, one becomes Bar or Bat Mitzvah. But by celebrating that moment, our young people have the chance to own the prayer service in a new way and to make our tradition their own, as they grasp Torah in a new way. And I know that everyone dies, and that every family mourns, but I strongly feel that Jewish mourning ritual are both cathartic and comforting and that they help to shape a challenging time in a powerful way.
Similarly, I believe that holidays do the same for a year that life cycle events do for a lifetime. Pesach is coming–and as I prepare myself and my home and my seders, I find myself beginning to consider what meaning the holiday will hold for my life this year…and how the importance of the message will live out in my own life, in my own celebration.
As I reflect on the beginning of the month of Nissan, I celebrate the new month, and the opportunity to create sacred time–and to find meaning in both preparation and celebration.
Yes, it’s time once again for #Blogexodus and #exodusgram, which is one of my favorite ways to prepare for Pesach. Follow my posts and the posts of others who are using this opportunity to use technology as an aspect of our celebration and perparation. And join the conversation.