Tonight at the Hippy Party

Tonight at the Hippy Party

Today my daughter asked me to join her at a hippy dance/prayer party for Rosh Chodesh Elul: “Slichot and Hallel Combined.”

Truth is, I didn’t want to go. We just got back from a 4-day family vacation, and I haven’t exercised since we left, and my kitchen looks like it was hit by a tornado. But it’s not every day that my daughter wants to do something with her Eema, so I went.
My daughter’s friend was on stage leading the event, and there were about 100 people in the crowd singing, dancing and swaying to the words of Slichot and Hallel.
And then my daughter’s friend told us to find someone in the crowd we didn’t know and pair up with them. I turned to the woman next to me, she was covered in body paint and not much else.
We were instructed to look into each other’s eyes, and ask forgiveness from one another, to “practice asking forgiveness this Elul.”
Before we even spoke, my partner was crying.
I asked her forgiveness for judging people by their appearances rather than who they really are inside.
And she asked my forgiveness for the same thing.
It was a deeply bonding experience. We hugged, and then it was time to move from Slicha to Hallel with a new partner. I found someone I didn’t know, but it turned out she knew me, she told me she was my husband’s student a decade ago and she also follows
We look into each other’s eyes, and were instructed to tell the person what we see in their eyes.
I looked into her eyes: “deep goodness, yearning, some hurt, the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.”
And she told me what she saw in my eyes, “Deep caring, groundedness, the ability to see the big picture, like the Woman of Valor who ‘Laughs until the final day’ with hope and faith that in the end everything will make sense. In the end you too will understand why everything, everything, was good.”
And that was my turn to cry. It was so powerful, to feel truly seen, by my partner and through her, by Hashem, and through both of them, to be seen, for that one fleeting moment, by myself.
Chodesh tov!

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