On Monday morning, I felt like a funnel.
Chanting Torah has made me feel scared, empowered, blown around in a gust of wind, burnt like a leaf in the sun under a magnifying glass, and many other sensations I can't identify. On Monday morning I had a cold, and none of those metaphors applied. All I could think about at the bima was not coughing; the logistics of having to put down the yad to cover my mouth and avert an explosion of germs all over the word of God were too scary to contemplate. I concentrated instead on measuring my breath so that just a little bit was allocated for each word, limiting the amount that remained to tickle my upper respiratory tract. I was so engrossed in this task that I completely forgot to be nervous. Once I realized this, somewhere around the fifth verse, I wondered what to do with the extra space in my brain now available in absence of the usual big brick of nerves. It was like I lost my shoes and had to run barefoot, free and unrestrained, but aware of the possibility of pebbles. Surely there must be some danger; nothing could be this good and sweet.
That's when I felt like a funnel--or one of those bags you use for icing, a conduit that delivers sugar to a plain surface. The Torah scroll in front of me was the cake, and the energy of the people listening the sweet part that seeped into the words I sang and then out through my yad as it touched the parchment. They combined to create a feast, at least for me. I get another taste in just a few hours, when I chant once more about memory, wholeness, and freedom.