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Friday, 18 September, 2020 - 2:33 pm

The High Holidays inspire us all differently, but it’s a universally special time for millions of Jews around the world.


In the past, as we gathered in places of worship to reconnect to ourselves, our Maker, and our fellow human beings, we entered a unique and precious realm.

The High Holidays have a familiar rhythm and a hallowed energy that overtake us as we enter. Each year we step into that spiritual embrace and allow ourselves to be taken on a journey of rebirth and forgiveness.

We are well aware that this year it will be different and quite unlike our regular High Holidays: no big crowds, handshakes, hugging and kissing, no kiddush, no kvetching about the A/C and saved seats. And no dinners with family with debates over chicken or brisket. In short, it’s going to be a much different year.

Does this mean the High Holidays will be sad or empty? Not at all! Different means that we will have to be innovative and “unorthodox” in how we create a transformative experience within our own home.

In 2020, your home is the Shul, and you are the rabbi. I will gladly offer a free course on how to give some great jokes and sleep-inducing sermons!

Have you heard about the rabbi who whispers to his president to please wake up the fellow in the fourth row on the left who was snoring insufferably loudly?

The president whispers back: “Hey Rabbi, you put him to sleep, so why don’t you wake him up?!”

But seriously, this Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will come from within, as we hold our prayer books in our hands at home and try to awaken the inspiration that’s in our hearts.
But you may ask: “Really Rabbi, how can that be? Can I recreate this in my home? I barely know how to read Hebrew, and how am I supposed to inspire myself?”

Our sages have taught us over the millennia that G-d asks of us nothing more than to show up whole-heartedly and to connect. No matter what language you speak or what education you have, I have maintained repeatedly: whatever page you are on is the right page.

G-d understands all languages.

“The Merciful One Asks Only for the Heart!” as long as we show up with love, forgiveness, generosity, warmth, and holistic values then in G-d’s eyes we are priceless. It is a mystery of nature, a beauty to behold and has enough power within to change – not only your own destiny, but also the entire world.

There is an amazing anecdote about a man who says to a wise master or sage,” I don’t believe in G-d.”

The sage answers, “it doesn’t matter, He believes in you.”

And so, dear friends, remember especially this year, G-d believes in you more than you can imagine. During the High Holidays, wherever you find yourself, Hashem will find you.


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