I used to refuse to bend my knee
during the Morning Blessings.
Baruch Atah Etcetera
Thank you for Etecetera….
Who was I bowing to?
A male king?
That’s not God.
But then I thought
What if I bowed anyway?
What would that feel like?
So I tried it for a month.
It was ridiculous, boring.
It was humbling, profound.
I stopped bowing.
And I missed it.
So now on Shabbat morning,
When I thank a being I don’t believe in
For gifts I don’t usually have,
I bow to history and my community,
I bow to everyone who has ever been forced to bow.
I bow to my fears and my need for something bigger than me.
I bow because my ancestors bowed.
I bow because everyone in the room is bowing.
I bow because I am not the center of the universe.
I bow because I do feel God’s presence, somehow.
So, a suggestion:
Pick a ritual.
One that is done in your community.
One that you don’t usually do.
One that you almost never do.
Then do it.
Do it without a reason. Do it for a month or two.
See if it takes on meaning for you,
See if it creates sacred space.
See if it creates sacred time.
Learn about this ritual.
Do you know its traditional reason?
Do you know it’s communal value?
Do you find a personal resonance?
Can you create your own meaning?
Keep doing the ritual for a month or two.
Do you miss it?
Did it matter?
Pick another ritual…