4/5 October 2019, 5/6 Tishrei 5780

Shabbat Shuvah tomorrow and I am thinking of big fish. Despite the walks we are doing every day, with the changing leaves and conkers under our feet, I am thinking of the Jonah story and the image of him swallowed by the dag gadol. No other biblical character is quite as brilliant for considering our own attitudes of stubbornness, ambivalence about choices and faith. Ironically Jonah is the most successful prophet. The only one who has immediate results. Those grudging words he says to the king and people of Ninevah (in 40 days Ninevah will be overthrown) work. They don sackcloth and ashes and repent. He’s the greatest prophet because he is so familiar, so absurd, so human.

What better focus for us than him?

Most of us, like Jonah, at one time or another, avoid our task, choose sleep over wakefulness and sail away if we can. Jonah steps on our toes. Come hear the book read on Yom Kippur.

Shabbat Shalom