I began my journey to Judaism nervously. Unlike the Charedim (ultra-Orthodox) who are anxious before the word of God, I was anxious in the uncertainty of the future.
My 6-year-old son recently staged a one-man play in our kitchen. It had a simple plot – a mom with her face buried in her phone, tapping away at the keys while a kid tries to get her attention. “Tap, tap, tap… Mom. Mom. Mom…. tap, tap, tap. Mom, Mom, Mom. Tap, tap, tap. MOM! MOM!
At some point in his or her career, every member of the clergy is called on to defend the efficacy of organized religion as a force for good.
In the game “Truth-or-Dare,” I choose “truth” nearly every time. I’m not much of a dare-taker. Thus, if you and I were playing “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days,” I would confess that the prayer Avinu Malkeinu provides me with both my second-favorite liturgical moment and my second-greatest pet peeve of the year’s liturgy. (Note: Even though I may have to repent for it, I will leave you in suspense about my favorite liturgical moment and my greatest liturgical pet peeve. Also, “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days” is fictional, although I hereby declare copyright in the event Mattel or Hasbro comes knocking at my door.)
The last instruction that Moses receives on Mount Sinai, before God gives him the inscribed tablets, before the incident of the Golden Calf, is the reminder about the importance of the sabbath.
This week's Torah portion contains one of the most dramatic events in the entire Torah, the incident of the Golden Calf. Moses has been on Mount Sinai for a very long time, too long for those Israelites who still carry Egypt in their hearts to wait.