Friday, September 7, 2012

#BlogElul 20: Endings {Guest Post}

I decided that I would invite friends to do a "guest post" here on Ima on and off the Bima during BlogElul. There were quite a few motivations - 1) writing daily posts on two blogs - whew! 2) encouraging non-bloggers or new bloggers to "get out there" and just do it and 3) to hear from other people! So I hope you enjoy them - there are a number of guest posts coming up in the next two weeks! Yay!

Today's guest post comes from Rabbi Wendi Geffen. Wendi is a rabbi at North Shore Congregation Israel in suburban Chicago, a mom, wife, and pescatarian, among other things. Her blog - PrihaGeffen is at I'm so happy to welcome her beautiful writing here today! 
Anticipating Rosh Hashanah: Beginnings and Endings?

If this is when it all begins, when does it end?

Breishit bara Elohim et haShamayim v’et ha’Aretz.
1 verse, 7 words, 28 letters, and 20 vowels.
All add up to what you know as “The Beginning.”
The very first sentence of the Torah:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Which tells us that all of it,
And each of us,
started from the moment God began to create.

But look a little closer,
and you will see
that what you think you see,
you don’t.  
What you think it says,
it doesn’t.

You will have to look really close -
because the place of this mis-Understanding  isn’t big.  
It is, in fact,

You won’t find it in book,
or a parasha,
or a chapter,
or a verse,
or a word,
or even in a letter.  

You’ll find it in two small dots instead of one straight line –
under the first letter
of the first word
in the first verse
of the first chapter
of the first Parasha
in the first book of the Torah.
And it changes EVERYTHING.

Ba- in the, B’ - in

Not “Ba-reishit” – “in THE beginning”
B’reishit” – in beginning.

See it as it is:
In beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  

“The” is not a lot to miss – or is it?
In beginning…not the beginning.
beginning isn’t confined
to a moment
in space or time.

Midrash teaches that God had been beginning for a long time,
long before chapter 1, verse 1
that is.
So what you thought was the beginning
is really

the middle.

There was no real start –
only a middle.
Or better,
one continuous beginning.
Starting and stopping,
creating and destroying,
succeeding and failing,
over and over again
until arriving at this world we know.

So what then about an end?
That’s just it.
There isn’t one.

Because the ending is just like the beginning.
It’s all the middle.

Breishit, Shmot, Vayikra, Bamidbar, Dvarim…
Next page?
Just start over.  
Cycles and circles,
spiraling on top of themselves each and every year.
To teach us that
Each and every day,
We get the chance to begin the world


Everything is a second chance.
Even when you think it’s the first,
It isn’t.

And when you think your work is done,
It’s not.

The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with the Selichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I'll be blogging a thought or two for each day to help with the month of preparation... I will be blogging here, and sharing #Elulgram photos on the same themes at Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! 

Leave your blog Elul post in the linky below!

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