Monday, September 17, 2012

5773: Some Thoughts for the Anniversary of the World

The poignancy of Rosh HaShanah (literally, the "head of the year") is that it invites those who observe it--Jews, those partnered with Jews, and other fellow travellers--to remember the world at the moment of its mythical creation. And in remembering its newness, at once to celebrate its promise, and to mourn how far short of that promise it has fallen; to assert as an act of faith that the world might still be perfected, or at least repaired; to imagine that we could be, in some small way, the instrument of its perfection.

At the funky, quirky, fiercely inclusive alternative shul that I attend, goy toy of my partner that I am, I was offered this morning the following:

"Each time I stand for the Amidah [the great, silently recited prayer at the heart of the first part of the service] I sift through the tangle of legend and learning that is our inheritance, searching for my own blessings, my own prayer. I stand with one foot planted in empiricism and the other entwined in the messiness of my own humanity. No body part touches the God of my ancestors. My heart wishes to be open, my mind to be fully present. And so each time I stand for the Amidah I invent my own religion." -- Claudia Bernard

"The peak of religious ethical perfection to which Judaism aspires is the human being as creator. When God created the world, God provided an opportunity for the work of His hands--humanity--to participate in creation. The Creator, as it were, impaired reality in order that mortal humans could repair its flaws and perfect it. God gave us the Book of Creation…not simply for the sake of theoretical study but in order that we might continue the act of creations."--Joseph Soloveitchik

In these two quotes, I find a place for myself as a queer participant in a tradition that doesn't belong to me. I find space to invent my own religion. I find the chutzpah to believe that by inventing it, I am participating in the completion of the world. I find the ethical leverage I need to insist that part of my calling is to correct the great world faith traditions when they fail to see queer identities and queer love as part of the richness of Spirit's unfolding.

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