Elul 20: Fill

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 31 August 2018 @ 12:05 am

Credit: MinghaiYang

In my first year of rabbinical school, I was asked to provide the chazzanut for the overflow service at my seminary in Jerusalem. Though we had a cantorial school, the cantorial students were otherwise engaged in the main service, giving me an amazing opportunity. The rabbi with whom I co-led services gave me the following advice:

Anyone who says he is actually praying while leading a service is lying. There are just too many things to be thinking about.

I was horrified. “The moment I stop praying while leading others in prayer is the moment I know that it’s time to quit,” I thought.

וְקָרָ֨א זֶ֤ה אֶל־זֶה֙ וְאָמַ֔ר קָד֧וֹשׁ ׀ קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת מְלֹ֥א כָל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ׃

*And one would call to the other, “Holy, holy, holy! The ETERNAL ONE of Hosts! Whose presence fills all the earth!” (Is. 6:3)

There are a lot of things to think about while leading a service. But at least once during a service, I allow myself to let go and be carried by the words and the melody. It is at that very moment that I truly understand what it means to be filled with God’s glory.

*Hebrew text and translation courtesy of Sefaria.org.


#BlogElul 2018

#BlogElul is a monthlong exploration of themes pertaining to the High Holy Days. Created by R’ Phyllis Sommer, the #BlogElul #ElulGram project allows participants to delve into topics as a way of preparing for the season.

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