If It Be Your Will

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Holidays require a lot of letting go and a lot of holding tight. We let go of the daily routine to make room for the day, and then hold tight to traditions that make the holiday real— prayer, or special foods, or certain people that give color and meaning to the holiday every time it comes around.

On Rosh Hashanah we let go of transgressions harbored in the heart, symbolically casting them as crumbs of bread to the water during tashlikh , while at the same time clinging ferociously to the divine in the supplications of Yom Kippur. Sukkot calls for sitting in temporary dwellings that literally remove the security of the roof over our heads, while our hands grasp the lulav and etrog— a bundle of palm, myrtle, willow and citron—ancient symbols of bounty we shake at the sky.

But another of his songs merits a place in the Jewish spiritual imagination, especially when it comes to the role of Jewish Community Centers. That I speak no more And my voice be still As it was before I will speak no more I shall abide until I am spoken for If it be your will.

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Cohen accepts that without a divine urge for him to speak, there may be no purpose to his voice, so he waits for a sign. But he also knows that if there is a will for his role in the world, rivers will fill and hills will rejoice with divine mercy and human purpose in an instant. JCCs are not religious institutions. We are houses of Jewish culture, not Jewish worship. We are open to all and offer countless ways for friends and neighbors to learn, play, connect, and celebrate without either the burden or the gift of religious tradition.

And yet—especially in an age of growing diversity among the people who identify as Jews, with broader gaps between religious and cultural worldviews, and a pace of information, social change, and world events that leave many of us questioning the point of the race of life— JCCs serve as crossroads in journeys towards Jewish meaning now more than ever. I get right into it and I feel from your writing that you are the same. I agree this is a lovely tribute. So thank you for sharing his legacy and introducing me to his music.

Cohen Live:

Thx for posting this song. I had not heard it before. Leonard Cohen has always been one of my favourites and I think he brought pleasure and comfort to many of us. A fitting tribute for a brilliant musician and poet.

If It Be Your Will: An All-Canadian Tribute to Leonard Cohen

The song that has been in my head since news of his death is Travelling Lady. I remember it as part of the score for the movie McCabe and Mrs. That beautiful, moody song made the movie.

Thank you, Ken. I have been a big fan of his for a long time. I remember buying some albums of his earlier work, and having to purchase a record player so I could listen to him. I recently heard an interview on NPR they had from several years ago.

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He was a very talented and interesting man. Lovely tribute Ramona! This post was an introduction to the artist for me.

Will be checking him out. Thank you for sharing! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Previous Next. Several years ago, when Jennifer felt she could not perform when her mother passed away, Leonard told her: Absolutely do not cancel. About the Author: Ramona McKean. Related Posts. Joan Coutanche November 25, at am - Reply. Ramona…what a wonderful tribute to Leonard Cohen! Ramona McKean November 25, at am - Reply.

Joan Coutanche November 25, at pm - Reply. Ramona McKean November 25, at pm - Reply. Phoenicia November 28, at pm - Reply. Ramona — this post is beautiful! You write with such conviction and passion.

Hallelujah is a heart wrenching song. Each time I listen to it, I learn something new. Thank you for sharing this. Ramona McKean November 29, at pm - Reply. Thanks, Phoenicia. Yes, I do have a lot of feeling about most things I write about. The tribute by his son Adam and Jennifer Warnes were wonderful and well-earned. Best to you. Marquita Herald November 29, at am - Reply. Doreen Pendgracs November 29, at pm - Reply.

What a good way to put it—pleasure and comfort. He brought both, indeed. Catarina November 30, at am - Reply. Ken Dowell November 30, at am - Reply. Ramona McKean December 1, at pm - Reply. William Rusho November 30, at am - Reply.