Sunday, October 22, 2006


“It aint over till it’s over” – a Yogism

It is all over: the food is left over; the people are hung over. A drunken form has just rolled over; a sober schmaltz herring has just flipped over. I don’t know what has come over me, but I’m overcome with emotion – nine days of pure ecstasy have just gone over the hill, and here I am, speaking in overtones.

Of course, stating, “It is all over,” would make one think the writer was overly pessimistic. But, glass-half-empty or not, the four walls of temporary vertical stature going the way of indefinite horizontal dust-collecting, along with the wind-chime sound of empty glass bottles clinking against one another in transparent blue recycling bags, seems to suggest that it really is over.

And yet, as the month seemingly devoid of any apparent holiday approaches, as the leaves haphazardly fade into winter, as the cashmere sweaters replace the threadbare t-shirts, I realize that it is all just beginning: the year is beginning; the world is beginning.

“In the beginning…” the singsong voice reads from a parchment handwritten in fiery letters. The first sentence of the Torah is alive, dancing off the parchment into our bodies and souls. It is begun – our lives, our purpose, our reason is begun.

When the innocence of prayer swayed us – we did not want to begin. When the presence of perfection stunned us – we could not begin. When the clouds of glory surrounded us – we would not begin. When our dancing soles knew no heaven or earth – we never ended to begin. But now – now when it has all ended, now when we are aware of ourselves – it is time to begin.

“…G-d created heaven and earth,” the voice sings still, the letters creating that which is. Before it was all over, when the bottles were not yet empty and the people not yet full, we could never have known creation – how could we when heaven and earth were irrelevant – we were beyond, way beyond; but today, today when the highs have reached their lows, today when true reality has given way to daily unreality, it is time to create creation – time for heaven to look down at earth and earth to look up to heaven – time for the great divide.

It is easy to be elevated when the time calls for it. How difficult is it, really, to reach heaven when there is no earth tying you down? How difficult is it to dance when the music is playing loud and clear? How difficult is it to smile when all is perfect?

But now there is creation – heaven no longer embraces earth, earth no longer wishes for its embrace. “And the earth was unformed and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep…” We are born into a world deaf to its own music – we cannot hear the song that is being sung, we cannot read the notes that are written on the walls. Of course, if we could, there would be no challenge, if we could, we wouldn’t be needed. So, we are born in darkness, in a world deaf and blind, not knowing if we are coming or going.

And yet, we learn: we learn how to create music where there is no sound, we learn how to create a spark where there is no light, we learn how to light a fire where there is only ice – “And G-d said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

So, yes, it is all over – but only so that we can begin. All that heavenly bliss of days past will surly be missed – but only so that the true potential of earth can be found.

(Some might say this overview was overdone, and that it was overanxious in being overt – but, hey, at least the word “over” wasn’t overused.)


Blogger anonym00kie said...

it really is something to hear bereshit being read in shul.. i was wondering if others felt as i did when they heard it.. a fresh beginning, another chance..
let there be light - comforting despite its newness.
im glad others took it to heart too..
great piece.. as usual.

10/23/2006 1:16 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

I was in 770, so I basically heard nothing... Not even the Baal Koreh.

Which is quite impressive considering how noisy it usually is.

10/23/2006 10:45 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

i was in 770, in the women's section, and i was impressed that i could here. im not good at estimating numbers, but there were a heck of a lotta ppl there, and everyone was quiet. so powerful to b there

10/24/2006 1:22 AM  
Blogger Dovid said...

Good article. (and, unfortunately, I didn't even hear breishis, as I was sick in bed shabbos morning.)

10/25/2006 2:33 AM  
Blogger Chasidishe Shaigitz said...

Very nice!

Here's to fresh beginnings and happy endings :)

10/25/2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger Chaya said...

its not over...the year is just beginning. now we have time to stop and think about the whole TIshrei, and internalize the experience to make a difference this year.

10/26/2006 11:16 PM  

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