Skip to main content

Elul 25: Planning to intend
Think about it: does Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, have the same "let's change" impact of, say, December 31? If you're like me, the answer is no ... it's got a more powerful impact (didn't think I was going there, did you?).

I stopped making New Year's resolutions years ago, refusing to join the lists of people who sign up for gym memberships (only to stop going mid-February), diet clubs (ditto), classes of all stripes (double and triple ditto).

But every Rosh Hashanah, I look at that list of sins*, and it hits me in my soul: instead of spending the year thinking about doing the right thing so I could be the best person my Creator wants me to be, here I am again, frustrated that I'm right back where I was the year before. My only saving grace is knowing that pretty much everyone around me is in the same spiritual boat. I mean, clearly there's a reason that that list in the machzor, the High Holy Day prayerbook, hasn't changed in hundreds of years.

So what's it going to take for me to stop intending and start doing? I can't say.

But I do know that I intend to stop intending. And that's definitely a step in the right direction.

* The confession list is called "Ashamnu," and the list goes like this: 


Popular posts from this blog

Elul 21: The airline safety guide (Love)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Adonai. (Lev. 19:18)

You shall love the stranger that dwells with you (who will be for you like the native-born among you), as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am Adonai, your God. (Lev. 19:34)

And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might ... (Deut. 6:5)

If you've paid attention to your flight attendant, you know that in the event of an emergency, you put your own oxygen mask on first. Only then do you help someone next to you, including a child. Why? Because if you don't have oxygen, you're useless to anyone else.

It's the same with love.

Start by loving and caring for yourself. It's not selfish; it's just a place to start.

Then move outward: your neighbor, your community, the strangers around you.

Then, finally, the realm of God: the spiritual love that holds all the others together.

But it all starts in your own home.

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777: WAIT

I got the best advice from my son: "Mom, why are you even engaging with these people? Please stop."

I've got people on Facebook who - while holding similar philosophies in some areas - are 180 degrees from me politically. I long ago determined that arguing with these people is counterproductive, only useful if I believe - science notwithstanding - that heartrate-raising arguments is equal to a good cardio workout.

And so my goal for today is to WAIT (by the way, not an original concept - I learned it from Rabbi Andy Sklarz): Why Am I Talking?

Provocateurs and bullies want to be engaged. They poke, someone responds, and the game is afoot. Like fire, they need constant air renewal. So if don't engage, don't respond, they will run out of air.

So for today, I grit my teeth ... and wait.

Elul 7: Choice - God, the Restaurant, and Malbec

Choices are good.
Choices are terrifying.
Choices are God's way of saying, "Hey, human, trust Me; you and I got this, and don't worry, there's no choice that can't be undone."

I'm a holy terror in a restaurant. I eyeball and dissect every possibility. I'm usually the last to order so I can see what everyone else ordered because obviously their choices are going to be better than mine. I torture myself and the wait staff: suppose I order this (and I don't like it) or that (and someone gets something better)? What if I daringly order a house-special cocktail and I really hate it instead of going with something safe, like a glass of Malbec?

Now take that food-ordering mentality and make it macro.

What if I mess up? What if I make the wrong decision? What if I disappoint myself and someone else? What if I make a choice and people stop loving me or leave me?

Here's the beautiful thing about having a relationship with the Holy One of Blessing: Unle…