High Holy Days 5779 – 2018
Emet ~ Truth ~ אמת
מִי־יָג֣וּר בְּאָֽהֳלֶ֑ךָ מִֽי־יִ֜שְׁכֹּ֗ן בְּהַ֣ר קָדְש? הוֹלֵ֣ךְ תָּ֖מִים וּפֹעֵ֥ל צֶ֑דֶק וְדֹבֵ֥ר אֱ֜מֶ֗ת בִּלְבָבֽוֹ:
Who lives within your tent? Who settles on your holy mountain? One who walks with integrity, and who acts justly, and who speaks truth in their heart.
Our High Holy Day theme this year is “truth”.
The Days of Awe bring us together in a community of spiritual practice that celebrates truth-seeking. We seek deeper understanding of the truth of our own experience and relationships. We seek to align ourselves with the moral and spiritual truths of our world. We seek courage in community to face the truths of our lives that can lead us toward greater wholeness. The many Jewish names for G-d can be understood as our people’s attempts, bound by the limits of our language and consciousness, to name the shared, ongoing truths of being alive. Seeking and being with truth is how we understand ourselves, each other and our world.
The spiritual practice of the Days of Awe is itself an act of resistance — especially in these times. The three great themes of the shofar service direct us toward truth: Malchuyot (Power or Sovereignty), Zichronot (Mindfulness or Remembrance) and Shofarot (Sounding the Call to Wake Up). Malchuyot calls us to come face-to-face with the power of truth – how ignoring or denying what is true doesn’t change what is true. And opening to, accepting, and aligning ourselves with what is true is a path to wholeness and peace. Zichronot calls us to internalize what is true in our memory – to grow our roots and find our stability in the rich soil of our expanding understanding of the deepest truths we know. And Shofarot demands that we proclaim truth publicly – that externalize what we know within, and build a shared communal life in relationship to moral and spiritual truth.
By practicing together, we strengthen our muscles for discerning truth, we grow our capacity to recognize and name what is untrue, and we build our courage to speak truth to power.