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through Fear; to Love

By Rabbi Daniel

The cost of living crisis, war in Ukraine, famine in East Africa, forced deportations of asylum seekers.

Are you frightened for our future? Are you struggling to hope? Do you feel powerless to make a difference?

This summer-into-autumn the Makor Hayim community will travel from despair seeking hope, from struggle seeking steadfastness and from powerlessness seeking possibility. This challenging path will take us directly through the fear itself. Strengthened by the authority of joy and the clarity of pleasure we can face the dangers ahead. Will you join us on this journey?

‘Yamim Noraim’ - the Hebrew words for High Holidays - literally translate as the ‘days of fear’ and invite the questions which might save us:-

  • How can the Torah’s understanding of fear help us understand these fearful times?;

  • What is the relationship between dangers in the wider world and my internal experience?;

  • What is the difference between fear of people and fear of heaven/God?;

  • How can fear of God become love of God?;

  • How can we learn to act from love rather than fear?

Through learning, listening, lamenting, davening/prayer, meditating, singing, visioning, dancing and eating together we will work with, through and beyond these questions ready for renewed just action and renewed loving consciousness.

The journey begins at Tisha B’Av (Sunday 7th August; afternoon to evening) when we take a day out to grieve for the brokenness we witness on the personal, communal, national and international level. Resourced through our tears and then through the freedom of summer we will enter the month of Elul in which we will learn more in community about how to be honest with one another, recognising that the transformation of humanity begins in each of our homes and in our community. At Selichot (Saturday 24 September; evening) we will take another courageous step towards our fear as we begin the practice of honesty and letting go, repentance and forgiveness. On Rosh Hashanah (Sunday 25th September evening through to 26 September) we hear the shofar and stand before the truth in all her majesty, attentive to the new perspective on fear that she invokes. Nourished with apples and honey we are ready for the Days of Repentance, including Shabbat Shuva (Friday evening 30 September - 1 October), in which fear moves within us. On Yom Kippur (evening Tuesday 4 October - to the following evening), we offer up honesty and humility and invite love. Will we be received? With the fog of fear lifted, life itself returns with feasting and dancing as we enter the vibrant colours of Sukkot (evening Sunday 9 October), the dancing joy of Simchat Torah (evening Sunday 16 October) and resourced and nourished, we will be ready for the winter ahead.

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