The Spirituality of the Days of Awe -- Posted by hazzanmenes
Judaism is a subtle religion. It is filled with gray areas and unanswered questions. There is ambiguity and paradox
in our texts. Tensions between old and new, individual and community, God and mankind create the energy which we call spirituality. Spirituality is not the outpouring of emotion for the universe expressed as loud clapping or sorrowful wailing. Rather it is the continued engagement in the conversation of why we are here and how we are meant to live. Spirituality is being in the struggle. You can choose to be in the struggle, or you can choose to wait for the struggle to be over.
Elul and the Days of Awe are exhausting because we are constantly challenged to be part of the struggle. We are challenged to make sense of what we do and why we do it. We are challenged to take our texts and reconcile the paradoxes and ambiguities with our experience on earth. If we are lucky, we come out of the High Holy Days able to live another year - we write ourselves into that Book. And if we are not lucky, if we fail to make sense of our purpose and fail to accept the "not-knowing", then we languor in the dark place without hope and without the energy to perfect the world.
Israel was born out of struggle. Jacob wrestled with an angel and came away both injured and blessed. When we truly engage in the questions of our existence, we cannot escape unscathed. But that is our path to enlightenment and that is our task in this season. Don't avoid the struggle. Question the text and question your life so that you may emerge from the confusion and frustration clearer, stronger and, in short, blessed.