Off the Pulpit

Which is Holier?

Are the holidays holier than the rest of the year? One could make the argument that holiness inheres in specialness. On the holidays, we wear our best clothes, gather to pray special prayers, and try to focus on things spiritual. Once the holidays end, life returns to the run of daily concerns that make up life.

But there is a Jewish principle, tadir ushaino tadir, tadir kodem — when a mitzvah is frequent, and another infrequent, the frequently observed mitzvah takes precedence. This side argues that holiness is found in the commonplace. Surely there is nothing holier than greeting one another on a new day or reading to a child as they drop softly to sleep each night. A well lived life shines through the quotidian, the routine of living, no matter the spice of special occasions.

The ‘holiday season’ is here, and there is a sadness as holidays recede but also a sense of relief. Each time has its own kind of sacredness. Peaks, plains and valleys, all are essential terrain. For the questing soul, each day, God awaits.