I relay a wonderful story from Philip Goodman’s “The Rosh Hashanah Anthology”:
At the conclusion of the service, the cantor approached Rabbi Vevel, the maggid of Wilna, to extend New Year greetings and to be complimented for the manner in which he led the congregation in prayer.
The rabbi returned the greeting and added:
“It says in Pirke Avot: ‘The world is based on three things: Torah, prayer and deeds of kindness.’ Blessed is our congregation which fulfills these three requisites. I teach them Torah; you pray for them; and they perform deeds of kindness by listening to both of us.”
It does not go unnoticed that all of you take many hours over the chagim to listen to us…your rabbis and cantors, messengers of Torah and messengers of prayer. It is with humility in which we offer our gratitude. Thank you for your trust, loyalty, confidence, and partnership.
This year, we endeavor to engage in High Holy Days in ways that feel foreign and strange. Many clergy davening without congregants in the pews; looking at screens, reaching out to hearts that are miles and miles away. The journey leading to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 5781 is undoubtedly a strange one. And yet, in knowing that we daven together from living rooms and backyards, all over the world, you give us peace in knowing that we too, are not alone.
May this High Holy Day season be one of meaningful prayer, engaging lessons, poignant revelation, and strong connections.
Connection to God, connection to each other, and dare I say, connection to the internet.
Shana tovah~a healthy and joyous new year,