While my primary spiritual juice comes from Sufi mysticism and nature, I’ve also been a life-long Jew. Every year I observe the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
I begin a period of intensified introspection during the Hebrew month of Elul that precedes the High Holidays (many orthodox Jews begin the month before Elul). Consistent with the Jewish tradition, my self-scrutiny peaks during Yom Kippur, which I observed yesterday and the previous evening. I want to share a few of my reflections and realizations, most of which were poignant reminders, rather than original thoughts.
- Despite my credentials and talents, I am merely another vegetable in the human soup. Like Muslim salaat prayer lines, in which I’ve also quite often participated, Yom Kippur is a great leveler or equalizer.
- G-d’s Power, Magnificence and Beauty cannot ever be really grasped and sufficiently praised or appreciated.
- Paradoxically, each of us is an integral and significant part of the universe, yet less than a grain of sand. For me, this is the grandest of all paradoxes!
- As much as I benefit from and enjoy praying alone, praying communally is very sweet, rich and potent in its orchestral synergy.
- The numerous clergy, choir and band members (what a treat!), as well as temple staff behind the scenes, were fervently pouring their souls into creating a momentous occasion for the largest congregation in our multi-state Western region.
- Remaining “awake” and present are essential for overall vitality.
- Like virtually every Yom Kippur, my heart blew open—I was often choked up, filled up, and at times in tears. Yet again I clearly realized that love is so much more satisfying than judgments.
As often at the end of the High Holidays, I emerged feeling a wonderful combination of humbled, joyous, triumphant and purposeful. However, this year I noticed that I was much more comfortable than ever before with lingering questions and uncertainties.