Torah Covers That Go Wow: Changing the Torah Covers on Erev Rosh Hashanah

On Rosh Hashanah
It’s time,
Among much else,
To change the covers on our torahs from the everyday colors to white.
I google
Torah covers,
Hoping for some jewish knowledge to inspire deep thoughts
And at the top of the list there is an ad,
An ad for a company that makes custom torah covers.
 The headline for the ad reads,
Torah Covers That Go Wow!
Torah covers that go, “wow!”?
I’m impressed
And I start thinking about the other talking torah covers I have known
And what they might have to say
Besides wow.
For instance, I once knew a torah cover that said, Because You Are a Girl You’re Not Allowed To Touch Me.
(Slowly and deliberately touch the cover) (grin)
I knew a torah cover that said, Pick me up and Dance With Me!
I met that torah cover at my first simchat Torah.
I picked it up, and we danced.
I knew a torah cover that said Take Me Off And Look Inside!
So I did
And it was baffling and complicated and never boring.
I knew a torah cover that said, Don’t Worship Me, I’m Just A Book.
And I agreed, and kissed it with my tallit anyway.
I knew a torah cover that said, Doubt Is An Act Of Faith!
And so I asked questions, and I listened to the answers and then asked some more.

And these High Holyday white torah covers, what do they say?
These cry, Remember Me.
For loved ones of blessed memory, who gave so much to us.
I still miss them.

And we remember.
Last year the torah covers spoke and said,
“Every small stain on white is visible, every blemish is there for the world to see”*
So that we may know ourselves, seek forgiveness and change.
And everywhere there is Rosh Hashana, what else do all the white covers say? 
They sing the song of the Shofar, the three notes,
According to Rabbi Arthur Waskow,
Tekiah, “Awake!”,  
Teruah ,”Open your heart!”,  
Shevarim, “Sob with all who suffer!”
All these noisy covers, going: Help Me, Touch Me, Go Away, Learn and Study, Ask and Listen, Worship, Fear, Dance, Forgive and Be Forgiven, Remember, Awaken, Open Up, Empathize, Resist…
All these voices
Kolot Chayeiu, voices of our lives,
Kol Shofar, all the voices of the Shofar
Kol Torah, the voices of our torah
As we join together.
And go,
Wow.

Shana Tova



*Tabitha St. Bernard and Adam Jaffe, Changing The Torah Covers    http://kolotchayeinu.org/TorahCovers

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