S’lichot, as many of you know, signals the final turn in our calendar to the on rushing High Holidays. Rosh Hoshannah is now before us. Elul is waning and with it the final preparations for our task of cheshbon ha’nefesh , the accounting of our own souls.
There is great symbolism in the ritual of S’ichot. In congregations that hold a service, there will be a moment when Torah covers are changed from the regular covers to the white covers for the Holidays. This is not just a pro-forma ritual. It has great symbolism for the time of the year.
The shofar calls us to wake up and to change. Just like these Torah covers, this is the time, as we examine our own life, that we are invited to change. Change is part of Jewish tradition. Indeed, many feel that the secret to our survival has been our ability, as a people, to adapt and innovate. The Holidays invite each of us to do that. The changing of the Torah covers literally symbolizes this invitation.
It will take courage and faith to let go of that which holds us and to break free into a new year and to follow our own hopes and dreams. Every year we receive this invitation to grow, adapt and evolve as human beings. Too often we say “not yet” or “some other time” or “I am not ready”. But the call is again upon us. Do not fear. Have faith. You can write your own scroll.
Rabbi Richard F Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.