Sunday, September 13, 2009

Preparing for Rosh Hashanah - The Circumcised Heart

This is the short d'var Torah I delivered Friday night:

In looking through my files for inspiration for tomorrow’s d’var Torah, I found a snippet of a record of a conversation I had with my NJ congregation. I can’t remember the spark for the conversation, but what my former congregant observed is a wonderful kavanah for this time of year. He spoke about our bringing our sons to the mohel at the age of 8 days to enter the babies into the covenant of Abraham. In tomorrow morning’s reading, we will hear, “Then Adonai your God will open your heart.” The Hebrew reads, “U’mal Adonai elohekha et l’vav’kha” literally, God will circumcise your heart. My congregant made the connection that "just as we circumcise a boy to bring him into the covenant, so too we bring our hearts to God as the ultimate Mohel to circumcise our hearts each year, so that we may personally enter into a covenant with God to live a life imbued with Torah.”

He continued: “This is a great way to look at the text. And it goes a long was to democratize Judaism - only baby boys can be physically circumcised, but we all have hearts to be brought to God."

As we move through the season of heshbon hanefesh, the spiritual audit in which we engage at this time of year, let this be our kavanah:

Holy One, I bring before You a heart encrusted with ego, with false humility, with arrogance and apathy. Circumcise my heart, cut away the shell behind which I hide, make my heart vulnerable once again to hear Your voice, learn Your intent for me, and follow the path You have set for me.

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