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Reflecting on the Real

Reflecting on the Real
(C) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

in honor of Neshama Carlebach

What do we find when we go to shul? I've been struck, over and over,
by the choreography of synagogue services. People strive to master
the 'stand-ups' and the 'sit downs', the 'bow down' and 'rise up.'

Those are ritual motions. But what do they feel like? What do they
help us achieve? What, I ask, are our 'ritual emotions?' Is the
limited heart-stirring some feel despite knowing 'the right moves' a
failure of the choreography, a shortcoming of the rituals themselves?

No. Ritual works. Ancient Jewish ritual works incredibly well.

The difference is an open, willing heart, ready to do the necessary
work to let the needs of the world mix with the particular ingredients
of one's soul.

And the only failure is not naming this expectation, this sublime
burden, and in Jewish religious leadership not challenging every
person in shul to see themselves as seekers of the sacred.

Rise in awe of all the world has to offer. Bow in awe of the Divine
Potential we together are. Rise in purposeful response. And then
sing and cry from the blessed weight of it all.

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Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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Sometimes, it isn't about nuance.
Sometimes it just comes down to facing the storm,
calling God out,
standing at the center of a whirlwind
holding your ground.

No cathedral is immune to agony,
no soul impervious to life itself no nation purely noble.
If it were any other way,
there would be no need for cathedrals
in the first place.

Kneel,  stand,  sit,  rise up.

To kneel is
to submit  to lower oneself  to step down  to pause.
To kneel is to call attention  to touch the Earth's face to listen to those  whose blood saturates  the very roots of our story.
To kneel is to step aside  to step outside  to invite others to come closer  to remember.
To kneel is not to stand not to stand not to stand idly by.
Speak your truth,
God damn it.

That's what God wants most of all.

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