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Halleluyah, Always

09/19/2017 02:30:23 PM



 I have been overwhelmed by the love and care that has poured out to my sister, Alex and me over the loss of our father. I have been rather literally collecting myself as I have felt fragmented by his dying and his death. I appreciate your patience and kindness.

Halleluyah, Anyway! I had been struggling this year to come up with a phrase to frame these High Holy Days. Finally, when nudged enough, I said, “Well, if I had my choice, it would be ‘Halleluyah, Anyway!’ that’s how I feel.” It is the name of Anne Lamott’s newest book that I have not yet cracked, but the title is provocative enough; it has stayed with me.

Contained in that phrase is the theology that during harrowing times there is still reason and dare I say, need to praise, feel gratitude and celebrate. With our hearts being broken day in and day out, don’t our souls need the invitation to exult in being alive. Halleluyah, Anyway! instructs us that when we come to a new year, we do not have to choose between our sorrows and our joys. It is a more succinct way to put the meaning of Israeli folksinger, Naomi Shemer's "Al Ko Eleh" where she instructs us to bless the sting and bless the honey; bless the bitter and bless the sweet.

This year I hope you come prepared to bring all of yourself to these High Holy Days: the bitter and the sweet. While the problems of our world or even the problems of those in our communities and circles might be on our mind, these days are for examining ourselves. This is a powerful invitation if you choose to accept it, to see where you are moved, what feels tender, what nourishes you and to reflect on how thirsty you feel. Those who deepen during these days and raise up that which worthy of focus in our lives and to discover where we can say Halleluyah, Anyway! will come away with renewal to respond to what this next year brings.

It is the heart of this community that seeks to expand and welcome us in our authenticity that has me look forward to a new year and allows me to say not just Halleluyah, Anyways but Halleluyah, Always (and in all ways).

With Care,

Rabbi Josh

Thu, June 21 2018 8 Tammuz 5778