Genizah: from the Hebrew root, G-N-Z, which means hiding, to hide or to put away. Later, it became a noun for a place where one put things, an archive or repository.
Genizah: The storeroom in a synagogue; a cemetery in which worn-out Hebrew books and ritual items
are placed. Therefore, a genizah serves the double purpose of preserving good things from harm and bad things from harming.
Last week, our congregation buried hundreds of sacred books and ritual objects in the synagogue cemetery. Out-dated weekday and Shabbat siddurim. High Holiday machzorim with broken spines. Crumbling volumes of the Talmud. Stained prayer shawls. Tefillin past the point of repair. These items had been inspected and deemed no longer useable, and so - out of respect - the items were buried, rather than unceremoniously dumped.
FYI. All those prayers on little scraps of paper that visitors to Jerusalem shove in the cracks of the Western Wall, eventually clog the crevices. Then they need to be collected and buried, too. Twice a year, before Pesach and on the eve of Rosh HaShanah,
the Rabbi of the Western Wall and a dozen workers sweep the ancient stones
with brooms and wooden sticks (in order to reach high enough to grab the prayers closest to heaven), bundle the slips in shroud-like bags and bury them in the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
This evening is Erev Rosh Hashanah.
So I’ve made a Genizah for myself and will welcome the New Year by burying
by letting go of a bunch of stuff
that clogs up the spaces in my heart and brain.
This year I’ll do my best to bury
the need for perfection
the urge to fix everything.
I will let go of
worries about tomorrow.
Yup. Because none of the above is useful,
I’ll bag it.
Of course, this entire exercise may be a perfect example of
but it’s a new year --
a time for fresh beginnings --
so what the heck.
I’ll give it my best shot.
To all those whom I have offended this past year,
knowingly or unknowingly,
intentionally or unintentionally,
I ask for your forgiveness.
To those who have offended me, I forgive you.
L'shanah tovah tikatev.
May you be inscribed for a good year.
Amen and Amen.
copyright Ozzie Nogg 2016