“Inscribe us in the Book of Life!” we plead, over and over during the Days of Awe. The liturgy weeps with a yearning to live, and all of the honest self-reflection, regret, perspective adjustment and realignment about what’s important reorganizes our spirit like yoga that works on multiple levels–our mind, our kishkes, our memory and our relationships. If we do this yoga well, we sweat–spiritually speaking, that is. We contort in the contrast between our potential selves and or actual selves, winding reflections of who we have become around reflections of who we want to be… and as we flex these spiritual muscles we wrong out, burn off, and transcend the comfort of the familiar that ordinarily lulls us into complacency. When we emerge from the yoga rituals of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (and the month of shofar blowing and relationship repair leading up to those sacred days), we feel renewed, rejuvenated. Being alive means something more than it did before the holidays. We are reminded of the precious gift that each moment is.
How do we capture that every day–because what we are after, after all, is not just life but–the feeling of being alive? How to cultivate the vibrancy of our lived experience, the technicolor textures we call vitality, a relentless authenticity that can render our lives, in the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “a work of art”?
Our ancestors–the folk and the Sages–cultivated rituals to evoke the intensity of lived experience in every day, in any moment. Our rituals, holidays, and customs course with vitality and keys to unlock it… even if we don’t always experience them that way.
How do these ancestral innovations that reveal our inner light and awaken or souls lose their luster?
Rabbi Scott Perlo explores how this happens and how to reignite them so that they can revive us. Passion, he offers, is what births these rituals. And passion, creativity, and readiness to be awakened can reignite those qualities of the rituals themselves.
His words are words to savor in the senses and the spirit. L’chayyim!