The High Holidays are designed for reflection and redirection. During these weeks, we are asked through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the God of our understanding. Sound familiar?
I had several conversations this year about how the 12 steps match up with Jewish ideals and Jewish thinking. And I am more convinced now that one is the reflection of the other. The High Holidays are really a crash course in the 12 Steps of AA.
1,2,3 Rosh Hashanah. Realize that my life is dependent on a higher power. That I am powerless in the challenges that will appear when life happens. But I can, by coming to believe in that higher power to help guide me, I can turn my will and my life over to the care of that God of my understanding.
4, 5 Kol Nidre. Now is the time to take stock. A thorough and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. We can’t hold back. It’s the holiest time of the year. This is our big moment to come face to face with our part in it all. All those things you thought were everyone else’s fault turn out to stem from ourselves.
8,9 Yom Kippur. Take stock and make amends, forgive others and ask others for their forgiveness.
6,7 Neilah. As the holiday ends, we just might be entirely ready, and we can humbly ask God to remove all these defects of character. And to the sound of the shofar our prayers are heard, and we can feel free. But we know this is the work that we return to for the rest of our recovery.
And as you walk out the door you follow 10, 11 and 12 to living a better and sober life. Down the road to happy destiny as it says in the Big Book. The Promises can only come true if we work for them.
I once heard a Rabbi teach that the advantage of being Jewish is that I don’t have to struggle each day to understand my connection with God. I have a tool kit at my disposal that will guide me and lead me down a path of discovery and connection.
See you next year!