Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Dancer

The Dancer

....Some of you may have heard of a woman by the name of Gillian Lynne. She's a ballerina and choreographer, famous for many Broadway productions (such as Cats, and Phantom of the Opera).

When Gillian was in school, in the '30s, she was hopeless. She couldn't concentrate, she was fidgeting. Now they'd probably say she had ADHD. The school wrote to her parents and said, "We think Gillian has a learning disorder." So her mother took her, aged eight, to see a specialist in a big oak-panelled room, and she was led and sat on a chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school, disturbing people, late homework, and so on.

Finally the doctor said, "Gillian, I've listened to all these things that your mother's told me, and I need to speak to her privately. Wait here, we won't be very long," and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio on his desk. As soon as they were outside the room, he said to her mother, "Now, just stand and watch her." And sure enough, the minute they left the room little Gillian was on her feet, moving to the music. They watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school."

The rest is history. She went to dance school - full of people like herself, and ended up a multi-millionaire, responsible for some of the most successful musical theatre productions in history.

Gillian's story is the story of the Jewish soul. She herself was unaware of the talent which lay latent within. Only after being recognised by a professional and after being educated in the correct way - did she blossom to fulfil her real potential.

Our neshama too has latent potential. Our neshama also wants to "dance," needs to dance - but we usually don't let it do the things it wants to do. We carry it round with us to places it does not belong, seeing things it does not want to see, eating things it does not want to eat, and we are often surprised when do not feel content: when our lives sometimes feel empty or unfulfilled.

On Rosh Hashana we focus on our neshama. Like Gillian we need to let our soul hear the music and let it dance. Bring it to shul, bring it to a Torah class, and help it to reconnect with its source. Let it light Shabbat candles, and lay tefillin, give charity and visit the sick. Let it get re-accustomed to the Hebrew letters in the siddur, so that the words of the prayers flow naturally .... etc etc\\

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