By Rabbi Micah Lapidus | The Davis Academy Director of Jewish & Hebrew Studies

The Force Awakens: A High Holiday Message 2

Rabbi Micah Lapidus

Each day during the month of Elul at the Davis Academy, dozens of students gather to blow the shofar during morning announcements. The shofar, more than any other symbol of the High Holidays, reminds us all of Judaism’s ever-relevant call to “awaken.”

As it turns out, like so much within Judaism, the theme of awakening speaks to broader cultural themes of great import. As one of the cultural highlights of 5776 will surely be the much-anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” here is undeniable proof that an earlier “Star Wars” classic, “Return of the Jedi” (or “Teshuvah of the Jedi”) is actually all about the High Holidays.

The Force Awakens: A High Holiday Message 1

Rather than offering a traditional Rosh Hashanah message, I share these thoughts with you:

  • We count the days until Rosh Hashanah …

“Proceed with the countdown.”

  • We experience an uncanny sense of familiarity …

“Here we go again.” C-3PO

  • We phone in favors …

“Why don’t you use your divine influence and get us out of this?” Han Solo

  • We stir the sleeper from his slumber …

“Hey, you awake?” Princess Leia

  • We embrace our humanity …

“It is against my programming to impersonate a deity.” C-3PO

  • We drop the pretenses …

“Help me take this mask off.” Darth Vader

  • We dedicate ourselves to living more perfect lives …

“That’s the last mistake you’ll ever make.” Luke Skywalker

  • We celebrate our connection to the Jewish people …

“Wonderful, we are now a part of the tribe.” C-3PO

  • We contemplate our place in the universe …

“It appears you are to be the main course at a banquet in my honor.” C-3PO

  • We try to purify our hearts, souls and minds …

“Beware anger, fear, aggression, the Dark Side are they.” Yoda

  • We embrace our limited perspective …

“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” Obiwan Kenobi

  • We explore our untapped potential …

“Let’s see what this piece of junk can do.” Han Solo

  • We try to get unstuck …

“Well, looks like I’m stuck here. Trouble is, I don’t know where here is.” Princess Leia

  • We seek to understand what G-d requires of us …

“What is thy bidding, my master?” Darth Vader

  • We strive to connect with G-d …

“I’m locked on to the strongest power source.” Lando Calrissian

“Greetings, exalted one, allow me to introduce myself.” Luke Skywalker

  • We try to see ourselves and our world more clearly …

“You’ll pay the price for your lack of vision.” The Emperor

  • We imagine how we might appear in G-d’s eyes …

“He is most displeased with your apparent lack of effort.” Darth Vader

  • We contemplate the theology of reward and punishment …

“You serve your master well and you will be rewarded.” Luke Skywalker

  • We listen to the yearning of our hearts …

“I wonder if your feelings on this matter are clear.” The Emperor

  • We reach out to loved ones …

“I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try.” Luke Skywalker

  • We remember and ask G-d to remember …

“It is the name of your true self. You’ve only forgotten.” Luke Skywalker

  • We fight our spiritual battles …

“I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.” Luke Skywalker

  • We strip away the veneer … 

“Your overconfidence is your weakness.” Luke Skywalker

  • We let ourselves be vulnerable …

“You are unwise to lower your defenses.” Darth Vader

  • We reveal our truest selves …

“You cannot hide forever.” Darth Vader

  • We acknowledge life’s detours …

“I got a little sidetracked. It’s not my fault.” Han Solo

L’shana tova! May the Force awaken within all of us in 5776!