Days of Rest and Awes

We are almost at the end of the Yamim Nora'im, which translates as the Days of Awe; today as I sat with these words I had a new insight–grammatically it actually says days of awes, since nora'im is the plural version of awe. 

I love that–there can be many different kinds of awe. There is the awe in hearing a magnificent piece of music or poetry, and then there is the awe one feels at the ocean or when holding a new baby for the first time. Sometimes we feel a sense of awe when we accomplish something great, like completing a marathon or graduating from school. When we feel truly heard, or when we are listening fully. 

There is also a unique awesomeness that comes from human connection, with ourselves or with another person. Awe can include a sense of wonder, reverence, admiration, amazement sometimes with a tinge of astonishment or fear. 

Awe is expressed in so many different ways: silence, smiles and laughter, nodding, jaw dropping, breathing deeply and audibly, applause, dancing, prayer, tears. 

Awe sometimes precedes understanding or insight. I want to remember to savor the feelings and sensations of awe. 

Today is Shabbat Shuvah, the Shabbat of Returning, the Shabbat that falls in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur during the Yamim Nora'im. There are some changes to the liturgy and special readings on Shabbat Shuvah that reflect this season of awe and reconciliation. And since it is Shabbat, I thought about the relationship between awe and rest. Shabbat is a day of renewal and replenishment, a day of rest. Shabbat Shuvah also includes those seasonal themes of awe and atonement. 

Maybe there is an alchemy that happens, a transformation that can occur when we hold all of these possibilities at once. 


When you're holding on

Can't find a will to breathe

Can you right the wrong

That has brought you to your knees

Though you've barely lived your life

You keep on believing you'll survive

And all that's left is what's inside


I have heard my inner voice

And finally can rejoice

I was lost and way down

Never thought that I would be

Amazing but now I'm free

–Boys II Men