Ritual is a kind of shorthand by which we say things that we do not take time to put into words or could not if we would.
Reverend Harry Emerson Fosdick
How does one describe with words the feelings we have when watching a ritual be performed in the holy place of our choice? Watching a baby naming ceremony and seeing the beaming faces of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents, the christening of a first born, a musical recital, a confirmation, a bar/bat mitzvah, the exchanging of wedding vows, blessing of children, festive family holiday gatherings, lighting candles for the Sabbath or for the memory of a loved one and the list is endless.
As a Rabbi and Spiritual Counselor in South Florida, I am often called upon to perform rituals for people of varied beliefs. This Thursday I will be conducting my first Memorial Service for a Hispanic Catholic man who was the Tio – Uncle of a dear friend. A Rabbi conducting a Hispanic Catholic Memorial Service you ask? Why not? What is my role as a Rabbi if not to bring healing and comfort to those in pain? I am blessed as a Rabbi in Recovery to see beyond the dogma and doctrine of religion and find meaning and intimacy in the spiritual purpose of ritual.
When I am called upon as a Rabbi to perform rituals for those in need and whether they be happy or sad moments, my goal is to always facilitate the connectedness of the person I am performing the ritual for. That moment is not for me to feel the experience, but rather for me to assist you in feeling the experience.
There are not enough pages to fill with words to adequately or inadequately express what our hearts and bodies feel. Let us not confuse these moments of utter joy that transcend all that is, with religion. The ritual observance of religious practice is wonderful and can be filled with all that I have described above. What I am suggesting for your consideration is that you begin to see the beauty and value of ritual in filling your spirit and soul in ways that will take you beyond your religious practice.
If all I am doing is fulfilling a rule when I practice ritual, I am truly missing the greater value of the ritualistic act; namely that I embrace the majesty of the moment, the joy of my God smiling and the warmth that envelops me by being a part of something greater than me.
My prayer for you today is that you find meaning and purpose in ritual and allow your soul, heart and spirit to soar and embrace the beauty that lies within the acts that you perform.
Modern and independent South Florida Sober Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 23+ years of sobriety providing Sober Coaching and Addiction/Spiritual Counseling focusing on energizing, affirming, motivating, healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events.
If you, a family member or friend are suffering, call me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve.
Hugs and blessings for a joyous day!