The Big Changes of Yom Kippur
This 5774 Yom Kippur sermon was delivered at the Kesher Reform service at Columbia/Barnard Hillel. I had recently learned about a concept in evolutionary theory called "punctuated equilibria," which describes change as occurring "rarely and rapidly" rather than gradually over time. I developed this theme into a sermon about the big changes that confront us from time to time, drawing examples from my personal life as well as the stories of others, both famous and everyday.
My 5774 Rosh Hashanah sermon was delivered at the Kesher service of Columbia/Barnard Hillel. My theme was parent-child relationships as piqued by the High Holy Days. In particular, I note the jarring juxtaposition of Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King), which asks us to appeal to God's loving parental instincts, with the Akeidah (the Binding of Isaac), which illustrates the painful reality that sometimes, the parent-child relationship goes terribly wrong. In exploring the healing message of the High Holy Days as well as the limits of our ability to apologize or forgive, we may find strength in God and in ourselves to strengthen the parent-child relationships in our own lives.
“To be effective, the preacher's message must be alive; it must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God's present voice to a particular people.”