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Dry Bones

09/02/2021 08:57:58 AM



I have been teaching two online High Holy Day prep courses during the month of Elul.  Rabbi Laura Sheinkopf and I taught a 4-part course called, “Texting in Services,” and I have been offering a course through 18doors (a non-profit dedicated to supporting the spiritual needs of interfaith couples and families) called “GPS for the Soul, Setting Spiritual Direction for the High Holy Days,” to students who have joined in from the South and East Coast of the United States to New Zealand.  And two common themes have arisen: weariness and transformation. Both have come up either explicitly or just under the radar; both seem to be flowing through all of us right now.

There has been and continues to be so much, so many challenges and misadventures visited on our world.  Making it so much harder to maintain perspective, to keep our eyes on the prize, to dig deep, step up and step in.  Pick your aphorism, it doesn’t matter, they seem to be fly-bys, just kind of skidding across our minds, and rarely hitting. 

And at the same time, whenever things shift, especially those we have no control over, there is an invitation to shift ourselves. Ironically, these moments can make transformation more feasible. When things are kind of copacetic, and yet change is still called for, the choices for how to proceed can be overwhelming.  But when one or two of the big pieces holding us back disappear or just become less daunting, light can shine through showing us the way. 

God tells the Prophet Ezekiel (Ch. 37) to prophecy over dry bones.  That God will blow breath back into them such that they will rise once again and live.  Transformed anew but alive.  This is my hope and my prayer for me for these High Holy Days, and certainly for you. 

Look, even at CSK, the liturgy remains what it has always been. We may sing different melodies for some of the prayers and the Rabbi may be a bit more “unorthodox” than some are used to, but Hineni and Avinu Malkeinu and Unetaneh Tokef and Kol Nidre and Shma Koleinu and the rest of the heart-pounding prayer poetry of the High Holy days will prophecy to each of us:

“Weary bones, challenged bodies, bewildered minds…let us be inspired by the breath and breadth of our tradition, and we will rise and take broad, new, powerful steps into our futures that will transform the world, one person at a time. Starting with me, starting with you.”

Wed, August 17 2022 20 Av 5782