I read sacred texts in three ways–all of them satisfying, all of them essential, all of them ways of going deep into my tradition. And, in moments of grace, all of them are ways of feeling God’s presence in the world.
The first is sitting in synagogue on Saturday morning, as the weekly portion of Torah is chanted during the service. There is something about hearing the words sung in that setting that is unlike any other experience of sacred text. I do not leave our century or the four walls that surround me. But I know I stand with Jews around the world who hear the same words that day–and with Jews who have heard these words in one way or another since Torah began to be read aloud. I often leave the congregational reading behind as I dwell on a word that arouses special interest, burrow into a commentary or two, try to figure something out. I know that I can always rejoin the chanting when I’m ready–and that the text will be there next week and the week after for further delving, wrestling, and inspiration.
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