Anything to Mend
August 30, 2018
The story is told of a pious rabbi in the old world, busily studying and preparing to lead services for the coming High Holy Days. On the street below his window, an itinerant tailor was walking through the town, looking for work: “Have you anything to mend? Have you anything to mend?” Disturbed from his work, the rabbi opened the window and snapped, “No, I have nothing to mend. Go on your way!” But no sooner had the words escaped his lips then the rabbi clasped his hand to his mouth in a sudden realization. “Nothing to mend? How can it be that I have nothing to mend. Here the High Holy Days are almost upon us and I still have not mended myself!” He ceased his study and went into town and found those he had wronged during the year to ask their forgiveness, beginning with the tailor.
Friends, the High Holy Days are nearly upon us. Are we ready? Here at Temple, we are preparing the prayerbooks, outlining the services, planning all of the logistics. But we each can be doing the work that the rabbi of the story realized was just as important: looking over this past year, reflecting on what we have done, and seeking to mend our ways. This is the season of the “spiritual do-over,” a cosmic opportunity to say we are sorry and pledge to do better. It’s our chance for an extreme makeover of the soul. What words do we wish we hadn’t said? What actions do we wish we hadn’t done? What do we have to mend, in order to start the new year right?
One step in the process is the ritual of Selichot. This year, we are joining with Temple Beth Or for a Selichot program on Saturday night, September 1, at 7:00pm, at Temple Beth Or in Ridgewood. We’ll watch the movie, “The Band’s Visit,” which was the original source for the Tony Award winning musical. The movie has important themes that will put us in a High Holy Day mood. We’ll also change the Torah mantles into their High Holy Day whites, then join in a reflective service, led by the clergy of both congregations. It is a wonderful way to help us anticipate the High Holy Days, as we begin to mend and prepare for the new year.