Friday, May 24, 2013

The Chuppah at Sinai

He stood in the doorway observing the commotion of our consonantal climbing.

It was the evening of Shavuot, the remembrance of the Torah revelation at Mt. Sinai. There the covenant was conceived and sealed between God and the myriad of recently freed Hebrew slaves.

Thirty men and women circled and chanted with each other for six hours at the Philadelphia home of our dear rabbinic friends, Phyllis Berman and Arthur Waskow. Our priestess, Rabbi Shefa Gold, devised a betrothal ritual with chuppah, sefer Torah and tallit. We chose a chant that signaled future intentions. Each person stood under the chuppah with our four chosen chuppah holders, singing out loud, in unison, again and again as we inscribed our new desires into our consciousness.

He stood in the doorway observing the final chant with respect and awe.
The chanting subsided at two in the morning and signaled a silence not unlike the silence that descended as Moses had alighted from the mountain carefully carrying the carved commandments. According to the Midrash, no birds chipped, no wind rustled, no sound was audible.

Still, he stood in the doorway, succumbed to the sacred scene.

My head turned, our eyes met and we both knew that we had met before at the foot of Mt. Sinai while awaiting and receiving words of Torah. Here we were again at the precipice of something revelatory. What would it be this time?

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