“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey…” Many years ago, when my children were young, I used to sing this folk song. I wanted them to believe that each of them was my sunshine, the focal light of my universe. And I also needed to reassure and comfort myself in the simplicity of their being my shining suns.
In just a few weeks, as we usher in the Kol Nidrei service, we will chant the words of Psalm 97, “Or zaruah latzadik–Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for those whose hearts are true.” Striving for a true heart, believing in my path, has brought me so much joy. I recently left the pulpit after more than 30 years, to help shape the future of the Cantorate, and this has enabled me to stretch and challenged me to redefine my path. There is a new rhythm to my days when I find the sunshine in my interactions.
The simplicity and ease of serenading my babies is difficult to replicate in adult relationships. Yet, as Yom Kippur comes closer and I begin to think about asking friends and relatives for forgiveness, I can lighten the task by imagining each person as a sun, as someone creating happiness. While I don’t think I will sing as I seek teshuvah, I will rely on my truths to guide me.
Life’s music should not be taken for granted.
Hazzan Nancy Abramson is the Director of Cantorial Education at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary. www.jtsa.edu