Hineni – Here I am.
I am fully present to this moment.
We read this on Rosh HaShana: Myra read it beautifully a few weeks ago, when she read the Akeda from the Torah portion Va-Yera. Abraham says to God: hineni.
Here I am.
When Abraham or Moses say hineni, they are responding to a call to do something difficult or important. Here I am. I am fully here and I am ready.
What does it mean for me to say it?
I want to be able to say hineni to the children at the Beit Midrash and to their parents.
I want to be able to say hineni to my children, to my partner and to my friends, to my parents and to a stranger. I want to be able to say hineni to all of you.
When faced with great joy or great sorrow, I want to be able to say hineni. I want to be able to bring all of myself to an experience.
When Abraham or Moses say hineni, there is a turning point, a life-changing moment, a big decision or action. We are always at the beginning of a potentially life-changing journey every moment!
The Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli tells a story which is not exactly a hineni story, but for some reason, I am reminded of this story as I write about hineni:
In the Middle Ages there were three stone cutters building a cathedral. The first stone cutter said: “They bring me a rock, I cut it into a block, they take it away, and they bring me another rock. I’ve been doing this since I was old enough to work, and I’m going to be doing it until the day that I die.”
The second stone cutter says: ‘I’m earning a living for my beloved family. With my wages I have built a home, there is food on our table, the children are growing strong”.
The third stone cutter says: “I am building a great cathedral, a holy light-house, where people lost in the dark can find their strength and remember their way. And it will stand for a thousand years!”
Each of these workers is doing the same job. If you can find meaning in your work, if you can bring all
of yourself to whatever you are doing, even the most routine of tasks can bring you satisfaction and even joy.
During these summer months, may each of you be able to say hineni: I am here, I am ready, I am fully present, I am ready to begin.
And may you find joy in all that you do.