Friday, October 14, 2005

Have you been served?

So, the days of Awe are mercifully over. My right foot is rather swollen and sore from standing on it too long yesterday at Yom Kippur services. I'm deeply tired, but I don't feel like I need to be hospitalized like last year. I'm realizing that not climbing onto the bimah with fever and the flu kind of helps in the aftermath of that kind of marathon.

I thought it all went well. The Kol Nidre service still is intimidating. It's so incredibly reverential, and that's the one service that people seem to universally feel a spiritual longing to attend. Doing justice to it can feel overwhelming. My heart still feels like it's going to pound out of my chest during the introductory measures of the Kol Nidre prayer itself, even though I know the piece intimately.

[On Rosh Hashana day, some eleven days ago, I was wandering down in the dressing rooms before the service began, and saw affixed to the wall Robert Plant's call sheet. He had been the last artist to play the room before we came in to do our services. I asked the sound guy if I could take it, and it lay in between my sheets of aliyot and shofar blowing assignments, just for contrast I suppose.]

All I really wanted to do was to stop thinking about the sacredness of the moment, so that I could actually feel the sacredness of the moment. Being aware of it seems to bleed all of the connection to it completely away, as the task has such gravity. It's quite a mental trick, forgetting what you are doing, so that you can be perfectly aware of what you're doing. I did have moments when I knew that I was utterly enveloped in the experience, and in expressing for the community all of their angst and sorrow and hope so that their prayers could rise to where they needed to go.

I feel happy, and a bit hollowed out from the whole thing. As the Cantor, you must scrape out every bit of your insides to pour into the service in order to, well, serve.

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