As 5780, a year filled with so much suffering, illness, strife and division comes to an end tonight and we gather together online for our 6:00pm Erev Rosh HaShanah service, I’ll pay tribute to one of my heroes, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. When Heschel returned from the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march with Dr. Martin Luther King, someone asked him if he found time to pray.  Heschel answered: “I prayed with my feet.” As 5781 begins, we must heed Rabbi Heschel’s words; we must pray with our feet as well. 
 
This evening, I will share a few of Heschel’s poems that touch me deeply. They give us a glimpse into the heart and soul of this great rabbi, teaching us how we too can pray with our feet, with our entire bodies. The key: realizing that we’re all, everyone of us, in relationship with each other. That we all must matter to each other and that when you hurt, I hurt.
 
In God Follows Me Everywhere, Heschel writes that 
 
God follows me like a shiver everywhere. 
The desire in me is for rest, the demand within me is: Rise Up!
See how prophetic visions lie neglected in the streets.
 
God follows me in tramways, in cafes. 
And it is only with the backs of one’s eyes that one can see 
How secrets ripen, how visions come to be. 
 
May Heschel’s poems illuminate for us some of the most important messages of Rosh HaShanah. May they deepen the connections we make during these holy days even though our connections will be socially distant. May Heschel’s wisdom, along with our tradition’s plea to make 5781 a better year, inspire us all to Rise Up together. And may our sacred time over the next several days encourage us to see with the back of our eyes and discover the secret to bringing about the healing and peace that are so needed in the streets, in our homes and in our hearts this new year.
 
Cheryl, Abigail and Jonah join me in wishing you each a Shanah Tovah – a good year, a year of health, a year of happiness, meaning and love.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Wachtel Reply

    Thank you Rabbi. Looking forward to services and bringing the warmth, love, and feelings into our homes tonight even virtually.

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