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Blessing moons, blowing horns, being soft and strong


What a weekend!

Full moon? It was a new one,

Rosh Hodesh, the Hebrew month of Elul.

Readings about choice,

B’rachah v’qlalah -- ‘blessing’ and ‘curses’

A hidden moon, but a full week’s end.

Hosting. Guesting. Young travelers

from France filling the house with lively

energy in short shorts, long appetites, and wide eyes for Colorado skies

and Sabbath meal idiosycronicities --

songs in four languages,

stories from four generations, and more

attempts at jokes that do not translate well.

A hidden moon, but a full morning.

Story-time at the synagogue,

Families with minions in car seats

Stomp down the steps to the kids’ minyan

To hear...

“The New Year is coming with the next new moon.

It’s a big one, though we won’t be able to see it,

Time, that is. Rosh Hashanah, that is.

So how can we announce it, so we won’t miss it?

Mr. Enosh, Mr. Gellman[1], suggest an announcing tool,

A ram’s horn to reach the ears and rouse the soul

To the infinite possibilities, hidden like the moon.

But it’s not easy to blow, so Enosh is not sure it will work.”

A sliver of moon emerging to fill the morning.

Bar mitzvah time, upstairs.

Ethan is so ready to leap or dive

For line drives and lines driven in by daily practice,

grounders rooting sacred scripture in the down and dirty.

He laughs and smiles and dances as quickly as he swings,

Teaching about sacrifice, at thirteen

a smiling second- basemen connecting to Moses

with the mantras, “sacrifice your body,” and “eat right” to keep it healthy.

A korban, he declares, is sacrificing

something dear to us, so we can draw closer

to God, like me sacrificing my body on the baseball field.

A choice offering.

Gentle, innocent, easy, pliant, flexible, ‘rach’

Soft, b’rach’ah, with softness

Without sacrificing strength, or substance, depth or truth.

Simple, but not simplistic or shallow or easy,

not ‘qal’ (or b’q’lalah), but chomer --real, substantial …and joyous.

Progressive politics, interfaith partnering,

Guitar strumming, reggae bopping,

Prayer-shawls adorned with baseballs,

That some label ‘religion lite.’

A mere reflection of the Light of the One,

A bit luney, perhaps,

But, no doubt, a blessing, strength in softness, light in levity,

simple, not easy, like the call of the ram's horn,

the shofar for the new moon.

Pull up a chair, and tell us about what you see in the light of this season’s moon.

Hodesh Tov – A Good month to you.

[1] Enosh is a character from Genesis sort of midway between Adam and Noah. If Adam means ‘human,’ Enosh means ‘person.’ So he’s sort of each of us. Mr. Marc Gellman authored the book, ‘Does God Have a Big Toe?’ which includes a story called ‘The Announcing Tool’ to which I refer.

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