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Elul 11: Trust, but trust what?

Our psalms are filled with exhortations to trust in God. But what does that mean? Here's what I think.

Trusting God means that I have faith that God will support me always.

To trust God means having faith that God will give me the strength to get through hard times, inner peace when my soul is roiling, intuition to do the next right thing. It means that God is available to me 24/7, not just during crises or on Shabbat or festivals.

Sometimes I imagine God as the sole participant in that falling-back exercise, the one where a person lets go and falls back, trusting that the people behind her are going to catch. Sometimes God is the perfect mom or dad.

Developing trust in God can be tough, especially when we've been hurt or betrayed by people. But when we take a risk and realize that God isn't "people," that God is God, that's when we begin to open up a little bit and give it a shot.

(graphic: ontologicalliving.com)  






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Elul 23: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 6:50 (Begin)

Someone I knew hated the expression "new beginning" because it was redundant. The argument was that beginning implies new, right?

Not necessarily. A "do-over" is a beginning of sorts that acknowledges that the first try got muffed up. "Start again, from the beginning" and "begin again" are phrases I use regularly with students and choir singers. A "new" beginning is an attitude, a mindset, an awareness that we have a chance to do something with a fresh take, a new vision. 

Even  בראשית ברא אלוהים, B'reishit bara Elohim, the first words in the Bible, are translated frequently as "when God was beginning," implying that starting this new venture was an ongoing event. It's suggested that God had given this new world thing a go several times already, was about to abandon the effort, and only the angels' intervention gave God the oomph to give it another try ... this time with feeling (as the saying goes).

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