Thank you for choosing to join me and artist Jacqueline Nicholls on this 40 day journey into a new year. I hope these reflections on the ripples of our being inspire private introspection and public conversation. Here’s today’s post:
Four intentions for the days ahead as we cross the threshold of Fall, into a new year and into the first shabbat of 5778:
“One day onion, one day honey,” says an Arabic proverb. Today we end a year so full of both ingredients and start a new year willing it into being and ourselves into being better, wishing each other sweetness and feeding ourselves the sacrament nectar of realistic hope. Or hopeful realism? The gastro Judaic wisdom brings wishful thinking to our lips. Honey, here to sweeten the deal, somehow the official flavor of these new year days, reminds us of the fleeting taste of transformation. Got honey? Pause, dip, imagine one sweet vision for the year ahead that makes you smile, and lick your lips; will it into being, taste, enjoy, share. Most use apples, challah, fingers. Some use onions.
Shana Tova. Sweet surprises and many smiles ahead.
Again, shofar: Blinking emergency siren in the quiet night, a sudden wail, a yearning howl, a primal scream that echoes every generation. This public sigh that pierces the soul is also a proclamation of our best intentions, exhaled with relief, belief, and focused force. I listen, match my breathing to the shofar blower’s, and I scream inside along each broken note to ride the sonic wave and open up: my ears, my mouth, my pleas, my heart, every hole and hollow in my body: open, on this newborn day, deeper to my soul.
At the riverbank today, braided breads are offered, crumb by crumb, to the spirit of the water that washes, we choose to believe, our past away and launders our guilt. The ritual of Tashlich brings us to the edge of the firm ground we stand on, giving up our daily bread as meager magic, a substitution for all that we guard inside: our greed and our pain, regrets, rage, sorry and sorrows. We know our sins. Crumb by crumb, we name, we own, then toss, release, each crumb a message in a bottle on the waves. Another braided bread awaits our first Sabbath feast, and each crumb is a sweet sacrificial reminder to cherish what’s worth it, what’s sacred. Shabbat Shalom
On this first Shabbat: Oneg Shabbat – the art of Sabbath pleasure. Recharge the joy. Self love, within these days of reflection and remorse and if we dare – long looks in the mirror – is essential. The Sabbath of Return – Shabbat Shuva – is fresh energy. We recharge to restart, to return to our center, to our senses, to stop, rest, sit, feast, connect, please self and others. Relish. Repeat. Return as in “return the favor.” Who can I please on this Shabbat with any act of kindness? What’s one sort of Sabbath pleasure I want to experience today, feeding my extra soul? Perhaps, a perfect pomegranate, seed by slow, patient, sweet seed. Shabbat Tova.
– Rabbi Amichai
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Very excited for Lab/Shul’s fifth season of High Holy Days, back in Tribeca. We invite all ages to return to center, recharge soul, reclaim community and co-create our widening circles of care, compassion and justice.