As we turn to the start of a new Jewish year, perhaps we can be inspired by the all-too-familiar customer satisfaction survey to evaluate our spiritual lives.
As the High Holidays approach, once again I am reading S.Y. Agnon’s Days of Awe. As much as the book means to me, though, the person who gave it to me means more.
In theory, no one wants to be that person who can’t let go, who refuses the request for forgiveness. But is it really possible, or even right, to forgive everything?
Aside from a date, what can these two events possibly have in common? Strange as it may seem, there are a few points of comparison.
Kol ha'Olam - the whole world was glued to Boston this week. The beautiful weekend, followed by an amazing race, with perfect running conditions. The only heartbreak, we thought, being the hills of Newton. Kol ha'Olam - the whole world gathered to cheer on world-class athletes, a world-class race course, with world-class fans. Kol ha'Olam - we know that in this whole world, we are not the only ones who face and fear tragedies like this and yet, Kol ha'Olam - it feels today in our whole world of Boston that we are under siege, and we are scared and we fear for our safety, for the safety of our loved ones, and for the safety of those we don't even know.
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 “Days of Awe” is a good name for the High Holiday season because when we are in awe of something, that's a good thing, but I like “Awesome Days” so much better.