Folk meets Jewish mysticism in this expression of soulful longing, a collection of original interpretations of sacred texts, poetry, and wordless niggunim.
Silence and Air
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
We sat there, transfixed by the unfolding scene, the wreaths everywhere made it almost-obscene. For any tradition would hope that its faithful would see from within that the point is not spatial.
It's not that we Jews feel erased by the clutter, (though this time of year makes us feel quite 'the other'). It's rather that somehow amidst all the noise, a wrongness was touching each girl and each boy, a message that no-one of faith should support, for it turns something pure into something of sport.
When symbols of faith are repackaged with glitter, a person with soulful experience jitters. What's more, when we Jews see the lights and the sales, the need to 'keep up' sends strange wind through our sails. Our windows become cluttered and swell (since garlands of blue and white work just as well).
But then something is lost, though we each comprehend, that it's natural - and fun! - to fit in with our friends. So the problem is shared and pervasive these days and the wisdom we need seems much further away.
The truth of tradition needs silence and air, and the noise all around makes it seem nothing's there.
And so Teshuvah, Return, is a lesson worth learning, by the glow of Menorahs and Yule Logs, separately burning. Return to your heart. Return to your self. Let seasonal sales gather dust on the shelf.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…