This past Shabbat I also learned about a Hasidic interpretation of the beginning of the haftarah for Shabbat Shuvah (Hosea 14:2), which reads:
"Shuvah, Yisrael, ad Adonai Eloheha.."
"Return, O Israel, to Adonai your God..."
But (says the interpretation) what if we read the word "ad" as "ed", "witness"? Would that mean God is our witness--or Israel? The rabbi suggested thinking and acting as if both were true. What if everything we try to hide, our lies, our self-deceptions, were transparent both to God and fellow humans alike? How would this change our lives and our choices?
I think I feel naked when I lead services because I know that everyone is my witness. I wish I could remember the feeling during the rest of my life. Maybe this is why I've spent so much time singing in choirs, where it's easy--preferred, even--to blend into the crowd. Sometimes up at the bima I try to hide behind the music, but it never works; I'm not a good enough actor. When I sing and pray at the same time, I'm a pomegranate split open with my seeds falling out. If today really is a day to reciprocate God's action and open myself up, I look forward to filling those newly-emptied spaces with hope and strength.
And I wish the same for everyone reading this. G'mar chatima tovah.