Monday, February 7, 2011

"Our Fuller Selves"

"In large part we cherish such experiences [going to services and attending life-cycle events] because they remind us of the fuller selves we know ourselves to be but so rarely feel in the rest of our lives. At their best, when they couple mind and heart in us and others, realizing self and community as one, we can be most deeply moved for we have in a simple human activity been taken far beyond ourselves to know the reality of our ideals."

Eugene Borowitz in Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew. (84-85)

Even though Borowitz continues to warn his reader of the risks of associating the worthwhileness of Judaism with how we feel, I think this paragraph captures what brings us again and again to ritual practice. Our feelings, mercurial by nature, cannot be our only reason for communal engagement. However, the value of being taken "far beyond ourselves" and knowing "the reality of our ideals" cannot be underestimated.