We are entering one of the busiest spiritual seasons of the year, so we asked for some special “Roadside Assistance” from Rabbi Rami Shapiro:• What are holy days for?• How should we engage them?• How do we make the best of them?And the Rabbi said: One way to open this inquiry is by defining the word “holy.”The word “holy” has two dimensions: personal and communal. Something, someone, some place, or some moment is holy if it arouses in you a state of awe and wonder, lifting you out of yourself and into a timeless nonduality. This is the personal dimension. When this moment passes and you return to your normal waking state of mind, you are left with a love from and for all things that manifest in you, as a call to compassion and justice that transforms your life and the lives of those you touch. This is the social dimension of holiness. Holiness isn’t just a feeling but a call to action as well.My definition of “holy days” comes directly from my definition of “holy.” Holy days are moments in time that, often aided by tradition and ritual, open us to awe and wonder in a manner that deepens our capacity for …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
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