‘”Amen.” It is not a natural utterance. You must learn to say it.” (Kaddish, Leon Wieseltier, p. 468.) Many believe that amen is a statement of confirmation, as in “this is my life – amen.” Others believe that amen is a statement of affirmation, as in “this is the greatness in my life – amen.” Those who study the word a bit more closely understand that amen contains a strong element of fatalism, as in “Is this my life – amen?”

To recite amen with conviction, the proclaimer must take a long journey. The present has not context without the immediate and often the far past. The journey begins by revisiting the past, not with nostalgia but with clarity. The journey continues with the present and where one stands now and just as importantly, why. Then there is the future and one’s hopes, expectations and fears. Bring all of these explorations together and the word amen falls easily from the lips.

Sound so simple on paper, simply do this or that. Yet amen is the hardest word a person will utter. Amen.

By Glenn Jacob

Rabbi, Community Leader, Fundraiser, Board Development, Non-profit management, strategic planning, educator, writer, and editor.

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