Tuesday, September 27, 2011

L'shana Tova! #BlogElul

#BlogElul comes to a close...

Wishing you and your families a sweet, healthy, full year.

From my home to yours...
L'shana tova u'metukah - a good and sweet year!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forgotten Poem #blogelul

This morning
on my way to
Sunrise Selichot
I saw the crescent moon
and I composed
a poem
in my head.

The day has been long
telling stories
teaching 8th grade
making dinner

I know the poem is in there. Somewhere.


(Scenes from the sunrise service)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Many Times Must I Tell You? #BlogElul

How many times have you heard yourself saying those words?

How many times must I tell you?

The answer? As many as it takes.

I once read a parenting book or article that suggested that this statement is ridiculous. Obviously, the telling must be done again, or the child or person in question might have remembered. Saying it only makes the listener feel bad that they've perhaps forgotten or chosen to forget the lesson that you're trying to impart.

How many times must I tell you?

God asks us this question too. God knows, as most of us do, that repetition is the key to learning.

Repetition is the key to learning.

That's why we do it again.
Do what again?

We don't just read the Torah once.
We read it over and over again.
We don't just pray once a day.
We pray at least 3 times a day.
We don't just ask forgiveness on Yom Kippur once.
We do it again next year. And the year after. And the year after.

Repetition is the key to learning.

How many times must I tell you?
Tell me again, since I have to keep working on it.
And that's okay.
I'll keep working on it.
I'm a work in progress.
Aren't we all?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

If The 9 Month Old Could Talk...

"Mom, stop taking pictures."
"Enough! I'm warning you!"
"Oy vey!"
"Seriously!? If you don't stop I'm going to stop looking cute for you."
"Hey, what's that? Is that my hand?"
"Aw, cool, look, I have two of them!"
"I am no longer interested in you. I have something new to occupy me. This blade of grass looks veeerrrryyy tasty."
I can't believe he's 9 months old already...oh how the time flies!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What is your role? #BlogElul

Today's Jewels of Elul question is: "If you had to say what your role was in this world what would you say?"

My response comes so quickly...to make the world a better place than it is now.

Oh, if only it were that easy.

If only I could know, really know, that I'm doing it. That somehow I'm having an impact, making a difference.

Each day I wonder. Each day I ask myself...did I really make a difference today?

But I think the answer is much bigger than just today, or tomorrow, or the next day.

I think the answers will come in the big picture.

What is my role?

To keep plugging away at this big task of life...hoping, praying, wishing, dreaming and ultimately knowing that the difference really is being made.

Here in Elul, it's time to rethink and recast each moment of each day of the previous year. Cataloging each action and questioning it, considering how I can do better in the coming year. Did I make enough of a difference this year? How can I make a great impact next year?

So...what do you see as your role in the world? Pop over to jewelsofelul.com to answer, or leave a comment here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Look at that Face...#BlogElul

No one ever takes pictures of me while eating.
(Thank goodness.)
I'm just not nearly as cute as this.

When do we stop being adorable for making a mess?
Of course, it's the month of Elul...so I'm thinking about forgiveness.

And of course, it's the month of Elul, so this reminds me of a story.
(Or, as one of my friends says, it's ME, so everything reminds me of a story.)

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, one of my favorite writers and teachers, had gone to hear a well-known rabbi speak on Yom Kippur, that most holy of days, and she was expecting to hear about God’s forgiveness. "Instead," she writes, the rabbi "walked out into the congregation, took his infant daughter from his wife, and, carrying her in his arms, stepped up to the bimah or podium. The little girl was perhaps a year old and she was adorable. From her father’s arms she smiled at the congregation. Every heart melted. Turning toward her daddy, she patted him on the cheek with her tiny hands. He smiled fondly at her and with his customary dignity began a rather traditional Yom Kippur sermon, talking about the meaning of the holiday. "The baby girl, feeling his attention shift away from her, reached forward and grabbed his nose. Gently he freed himself and continued the sermon. After a few minutes, she took his tie and put it in her mouth. The entire congregation chuckled. The rabbi rescued his tie and smiled at his child. She put her tiny arms around his neck. Looking at us over the top of her head, he said, ‘Think about it. Is there anything she can do that you could not forgive her for?’ Throughout the room people began to nod in recognition, thinking perhaps of their own children and grandchildren. Just then, she reached up and grabbed his eyeglasses. Everyone laughed out loud. "Retrieving his eyeglasses and settling them on his nose, the rabbi laughed as well. Still smiling, he waited for silence. When it came, he asked ‘And when does that stop? When does it get hard to forgive: At three? At seven" At fourteen? At thirty-five? How old does someone have to be before you forget that everyone is a child of God?’"

Look at that shayna punim.
May his sweet face always be a reminder of his inner spark of the Divine.
And may we always be able to see that sweet inner spark in everyone we meet.

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, I'll be blogging (except on Shabbat) a thought for each day to help with your month of preparation... Most of my #BlogElul posts will be over at my other blog, rabbiphyllis.blogspot.com, so feel free to visit me there or follow me on Twitter to read all my #BlogElul posts and others' posts too!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm doing #BlogElul

Dear friends, in case you haven't seen too much of me this week over here at Ima on and off the Bima, it's because I'm working hard on #BlogElul over at my other blog, Thoughts from Rabbi Phyllis (really creative title, no?).

I'm blogging almost daily over there for the whole month of Elul, the Hebrew month that precedes Rosh HaShanah. I won't be abandoning this blog (I have a number of book and DVD reviews coming up, bli neder) but I will be putting up a lot of content over there too.

So...feel free to follow me on Twitter to catch all my posts, and all the other folks who are doing #BlogElul as well.

If you'd like to subscribe to Thoughts from Rabbi Phyllis (free! so why not!?), click to subscribe in a reader or subscribe via email.