For me, it all started on Rosh Hashannah. I knew I wanted to be in the service of retrospection and hear the call of the shofar to shed my year’s constipative moments imbedded in my mind, body, and soul. And yet, I didn’t feel ready. My internal calendar didn’t quite align. Nevertheless, I landed in Adamah, ready or not, for Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simhat Torah.
Parshat Noah mirrors parts of my experience so intimately at Adamah. I have been the flood, the unrighteous and righteous, the animals and plants. Although I haven’t quite reached the 40 days of rains of Adamah, I sense the cleansing taking place. The rains have perfectly aligned themselves with my prayers and those shared with Jews world wide as well as surely others experiencing drought, famine, or chalenging harvests: Rain! They have arrived after a parched summer, and tomorrow they are supposedly going to release us from Parsha Noah’s flood. I now face questions upon my heart. During Yom Kippur Rabbi Piskin spoke of recognizing the High Holidays in everyday, just as Shabbat teaches us the importance of rest on it’s day, it also seeks to enter our body, mind, and hearts throughout our week.
What does this look like? How can I align myself with Noah in the midst of a daily Shabbat, Rosh Hashannah, Yom kippur, Sukkot, and Simhat Torah? My prayer is to sit in the place of life as a process as my shofar sounds to awaken me to her mystery. In this mystery I will yearn in deep silence, tugging my soul with gevurah and hesed to connect to God and all this creation; to then light incense in my Holy of Holy’s, as the Kohanim did on Yom Kippur, to bathe and celebrate the protection of personal clouds of glory where I can relax into the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual connection of joy and security with Hashen. When I feel this, I awaken to the love affair I have with Hashem, to dance the dance of Simhat Torah where every moment is present and a present of awe and celebration.
Hineini, Here I am. I am that, I am. As the Moses Code lays it out- when I say, I am that; God replies I am. And so the choice is clear in this moment, as the floods of Noah come to fruition from our prayers on Sukkot and Shemini yasterez. The question that arises is how will we get off our arc? Will we make burnt offerings to God in grattitude or will we choose to be vegan? Will we plant a vineyard to get drunk or will we offer up blessings higher than any high could ever get us? Will our yetzer hara overcome our desire to connect with Hashem? It is unclear what took a man like Noah from a place of “walking with Hashem” as a righteous man of his generation, whole hearted, to descend from his vessel and create a drama God may not have envisioned: animal offerings and drunkenness. Maybe the lesson is to realize that we are human beings, and we are complicated as in presented by Koheleth. His message finally sits: Eat, Drink and Be Happy. Sounds good to me. But I think I might add, laugh, sing Dodi lee ve ani lo haroeh bashoshanim while caretaking for the earth: plants animals, and loving the other as oneself.