A Preparation Guide For The High Holidays
In his book, Restoring the Aleph: Judaism For The Contemporary Seeker, Rabbi Art Green writes, “A number of years ago my family and I were living in Berkeley, CA. Around the corner from us was, of course, a spiritual or New Age bookstore. The front of the store was decorated with a huge sign, in inverted pyramid form. The top line read, in large block letters: SCIENTOLOGY DOESN’T WORK. Beneath that, in slightly smaller letters, it said: INTEGRAL YOGA DOESN’T WORK. Then, again slightly smaller: CHRISTIANITY DOESN’T WORK. After going through six or seven more would-be spiritual paths the sign concluded, again in large letters: YOU WORK.”
“Isms”, “Itys”, and Ideologies don’t make the difference; we do! We can learn from, but it is only when one chooses to act upon that change occurs. I must have told the following story a thousand times, each time a reminder to myself that resolution alone is not enough:
“There was once a poor countrywoman who had many children. They were always begging for food, but she had none to give them. One day she found an egg.”
“She called her children and said, “Children, children, we’ve nothing to worry about any more; I’ve found an egg. And, being the shrewd person I am, I’ll not eat the egg, but shall ask my neighbor to set it under her hen, until a chick is hatched. Being shrewd as I am, we’ll not eat the chick, but set her on eggs, and the eggs will hatch into more chickens. And the chickens in their turn will hatch many eggs, and we’ll have many chickens and many eggs. Being shrewd as I am, we’ll not eat the chickens nor the eggs but we’ll sell them and buy a heifer. And we’ll not eat the heifer, but shall raise it to become a cow, and not eat the cow until it gives birth to calves. Being shrewd as I am, I will sell the cows and the calves and buy a field, and we’ll have fields and cows and calves, and we won’t need anything any more!”
“The countrywoman was speaking in this manner and playing with the egg, when it fell out of her hands and broke.”
May the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur inspire us to not only pray with our lips and hearts, but also our hands and feet!
Rabbi Howard Siegel