Hineni. Here I am.
When God called to Abraham, Abraham answered, Hineni… Here I am.
When God called to Jacob, Jacob answered, Hineni… Here I am.
And when God called to Moses, Moses answered, Hineni… Here I am.
Well, at least that’s how the story goes…
They say that one doesn’t just decide to be clergy, but one is called to be clergy. Well, gosh, in just a few weeks, I will be traveling to Florida for my own Rabbinic ordination. I’m already a Cantor, so I guess I’m already clergy (don’t tell my husband; he always says, “Who wants to go to bed at night next to clergy??!!”), but this Rabbi thing is a whole other level. To be a true spiritual leader means watching my own ego and never getting too impressed with myself. It means listening to the needs of the people who invite me into their lives rather than placing my needs upon them. It means being there for beautiful events such as weddings and b’nei-mitzvah and baby namings, but it also means being there when there is fear, tragedy, sadness, illness, and death. It means being available for guidance when asked, and it also means being wise enough to step away when space is needed. This clergy thing is no easy task. But I don’t really feel like I was “called”. I never heard the voice of God like those guys mentioned above. I never saw a holy light or a burning bush or heard rolling thunder speak my name, or even felt a tap on the shoulder. I just kind of kept putting one foot in front of the other and somehow found myself here.
I guess there were moments in my journey that I could interpret as the Universe guiding me along a particular path, but I’m also open to the idea that I saw meaning in those instances because this was the path I desired deep down. I’ll never know which it was, and I don’t think it really matters. I think all any of us can to do is keep our eyes and ears open for those moments that are either themselves imbued with meaning or that we infuse with meaning, reflecting our own hearts’ desires to ourselves. It is possible that Abraham, Jacob and Moses, didn’t hear a literal voice but heard an internal “knowing”. It’s possible they were calling themselves. Maybe that is all we must ask of ourselves too.
It’s interesting that the Torah portion Shemot (the one in which God calls to Moses and Moses answers with Hineni) will be read during the Shabbat after New Year’s day this year. While Moses is being “called”, here we all are, making our usual New Year’s resolutions… to get back into shape, to spend more time with family, to make more money, to eat healthier, to finally lose that 15 pounds. But maybe the lesson we can grab from this New Year’s Torah portion is that we can forget all that stuff. Maybe we don’t have to “observe” the New Year with promises that we probably won’t keep and will feel guilty when we don’t. Maybe we can just say to the world, “Hineni! Here I am! Whatever this life calls upon me to do this year, I won’t hide! I’m right here, and I’ll give it my best shot!” With this, we prepare ourselves to be flexible, to face challenges, to move like water as we encounter the unknown twists and turns that lie ahead in 2016. If we are able to achieve this, we may find ourselves doing something very, very difficult… living in the moment.
When I return from Florida, my Kehillah Sababah, my “Cool Community” will celebrate with me and for the first time, call me “Rabbi.” To my Cool Shul readers and community… Hineni. Here I am. Thank you for spending a little time with me. I don’t know where the “call” to learn and grow and share with you came from, but I am grateful for the call, and I am going to do my best to be beside you as you navigate your lives. Thank you for being with me as I navigate mine.
May 2016 be a year in which we all listen to the internal and external voices that guide us and remind us of our “callings”. And may we be like water, ready to move with the tides.
Cantor (Soon to be Rantor) Diane.
And now, a bit more…
- With just a couple days left for you to squeeze in your last donations of 2015, please consider donating to Cool Shul. A dream needs dreamers, and we hope you will dream with us. To make a tax-deductible donation please click here.
- We are going to be starting a book club (for adults) that will meet once a month from January through June. We will be reading books about the meeting of a group of Jewish leaders with the Dalai Lama, learning about meditation from a Zen Conservative Rabbi, exploring the simplicities of Jewish life with the grandfather of the Renewal Movement, diving into an ironically funny memoir of being raised Orthodox, sinking our teeth into some Chasidic tales, and preparing ourselves for the coming back around of the Holy Days. If you would like more information or to sign up, click here.
- Please save the date for Shabbat evening, January 22. We will have a unique Shabbat experience with some special guests and will celebrate my Rabbinic ordination.
Happy New Year!!!!