(Note: I omitted someone in yesterday's post! I've amended it and added her.)
Our group of crash-course service leaders were invited to join the rabbis and cantor for three study sessions to explore what it meant to be a shaliach tzibur, and to hear their perspectives on questions like, "What right do I have to stand up in front of everyone when I have so much atoning to do, myself?" Our first meeting took place in the rabbi's office, where I sunk into the sofa and listened to the pop singer and the freshman analyze a passage about prayer and music from Sefer Chasidim, a twelfth-century work on the ethical implications of daily life. I felt like I had gained access to an inner sanctum, never having been in a rabbi's office before, and was so intimidated and distracted by this idea that I contributed little to the discussion. But I listened carefully, especially when the rabbi spoke about bringing whomever you are at the moment--happy, depressed, intimidated--to the bima, and not expecting to be perfect, because no one is.
(Interestingly, this meeting was exactly one year ago today.)