As a congregational rabbi, there is this pressure to make the High Holy Days perfect. As someone I work with says, "The company is coming!" Our entire staff, from those in charge of the physical plant to those responsible for administration to our educators to our clergy, is busily preparing for the High Holy Days (HHD). It is an overwhelming task to prepare for these sacred days and we want to make sure it is the best experience for our community.
For me, it is important to enter these sacred days intentionally and recognize their significance--both how big they are and how quickly they pass. So, as I enter this final week of preparation, this is my prayer:
O God, I pray that I will enter this season of repentance feeling the fullness of blessings and the awareness of my growing edges.
I pray I will have the internal strength to admit my failings to those I love and respect.
I pray I will have the confidence in myself to step back from my preparation to be home with my family as much as possible, because the work is never done and my family depends upon me too.
I pray I will be able to be mindful and present in the liturgy of these holy days, remembering that to be a rabbi is not to be a performer and I seek to be with the congregation, not above it.
I pray I will remember that the sum total of our Judaism, my rabbinate, or any one congregation is not this one season, but the entire year.
As I pray that this year will be one of blessing and peace, may I be ever mindful that I must act and live in a way to make that a reality.