Last week, I got an urgent text from one of our offspring.
The text said:
I’m spiraling a bit about what the bleep I’m even doing with my life here in this city and feeling homesick for everything and everyone I have in Vancouver. Like am I just wasting my time out here living a shell of my life away from my closest friends and family?
And I wrote back:
It’s Rosh Hashanah, questions about “Who am I, what is my life” come up. Get some sleep! Come visit!
And they wrote:
Hahahahaha Shana Tova
Suddenly they realized, they were not out of sorts and out of place. They were right where they should be.
Because at the New Year, the soul wants to come home.
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Lyadi, the Alter Rebbe, explained this.
Our soul’s true origin and home is Divine light-energy.
Before the world was created, God’s infinite light-energy, filled all time and all space. And from God’s perspective, that has not changed.
The light shines out, and it takes different shapes. We are all made of this light-energy.
We know this—sometimes—and even then, not too clearly. It’s as if we see our selves, our spiritual selves, through dense screens.
Jewish tradition, says the Alter Rebbe, teaches us to see more clearly. And it uses the technology of mitzvot.
When we do good deed mitzvot, we lift ourselves out of a narrow personal consciousness.
When we do ritual mitzvot, with our minds, our bodies, and our feelings, we bring together scattered parts of our inner light.
The ten days of teshuva are an intensive course in both kinds of mitzvot.
So when we do today’s rituals—standing together, singing, feeling the music, thinking about our shortcomings, making resolutions about using our strengths—we open to the flow of divine light that is always within us.
We come home.
Originally written as a kavannah, a reflective intention, during Yom Kippur Shacharit at Or Shalom Synagogue, Vancouver.