The Fire Within Your Soul
The Sefat Emet teaches that, “The soul of every human being is God’s light, created to shine in this world like the stars by night. And if, in times of difficulty, we wonder, like those Maccabees searching the ruins of the Temple for a flask of unsullied oil, ‘Have I anything left inside to illumine? Is there any music, or poetry, or dance in me still left?’ We should remember that there’s never not enough spirit within the human heart to burn for at least one day. When that flame begins to give light, others gather round and their soul too is illumined and, even in the most oppressive circumstances, the song continues to travel from mouth to mouth and generation to generation and the spirit is never extinguished.”
These words are so relevant for the upcoming High Holy Days. The reality is that we have lost so much during the pandemic. As a Jewish community, we care deeply about the sanctity of life, the power of prayer, and the gathering of community. It is during these moments when we feel strength, hope, and a taste of the messianic age when the world will be more at peace.
Many of us feel emotionally exhausted as we work, day in and day out, to keep our families safe, balance work and home, and try to get in a little self-care as well. But the Sefat Emet is trying to empress upon us is that our spirit is never extinguished even though we might feel defeated. We still have music, poetry, and dance within us. The light of our souls is ready to shine and brighten up even the darkest day.
The reset button has been hit. Everything we have known prior to COVID is in the past. Now is the time to do what we have always wanted to do, to be the people we always have wanted to be. With life and death ever present, today and each day is truly a gift given to us by God. Don’t waste it. Rise up. Feel the fire within your soul. You were created for this very moment. What will you do with it?
L’Shana Tova u’Metukah – A Good, Sweet, and Healthy New Year to all.
Larry Sernovitz is the senior rabbi of Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta.