Trying out the Rabbit Swamp Trail on my new bicycle, I noticed that many of the cyclists wore only hats, but a few sported helmets. Thinking this was a “safe road” I asked one cyclist if it was necessary to wear a helmet. He responded, “Only when you fall!” I think about religion and how it is used only when you fall. A cousin to this perception is the old saying; “There are no atheists in foxholes!” I wouldn’t entirely dismiss occasional usage of faith in dire circumstances, but like the person who exercises at the gym just once a year, you won’t get religion’s full effect. Prayer and observance is a discipline whose vitality depends on a measured involvement with some degree of frequency.
On occasion new members will find that it takes several visits to our services to get the ritual and the tunes, as they may be unaccustomed to our ways. With rare exception they will be able to join in, sing and stand etc. feeling quite at home within a month.
I recently came across this poem written by a colleague on the occasion of the Jewish month of Tammuz which we now celebrate. It speaks to our need to pulsate to all the seasons of our lives religiously, not only in difficult times, but in times that invite joy.
Life can break us sometimes,
But repair is real,
Healing is in our hands,
And new beginnings,
Like a full moon in a darkened sky Rising to greet us
Full of possibility
And whispers of good things to come!
Wishing you sweet blessings of healing and hope -this full moon of Tammuz. Amen
Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.