Last night I went to an evening of Jewish sacred music with the "Kirtan Rabbi."
Kirtan is an Indian call and response chanting practice that is meditative, communal, at times contemplative and other times ecstatic. Call and response is fundamentally relational and reciprocal, and has a powerful undertow to its rhythm. It is a style or format that can be found in many different cultural and spiritual traditions, including African music as well as African-American gospel music, Sufi zikr, Jewish and others.
Reb Drew's music uses Hebrew prayers and texts, punctuated with meditation, breathing, and spiritual teaching. His ensemble also included a handful of musicians and singers whose instruments included drums, cello, shruti, a variety of guitars and a few other items. At last night's concert, some people sat quietly and meditatively in their seats, while others were up dancing, clapping and swaying.
This concert was particularly compelling because it took place on the evening of Selichot services, which take place every year on the last Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.
Selichot means forgiveness or pardon, and traditional Selichot services include poetry and prayers that signify spiritual preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which are literally are just days away.
There is a call and response aspect to forgiveness itself. What steps can you take toward asking for or receiving forgiveness in your own life?