Elul 7: Understand

August 18, 2018

Since I was a kid, whenever I hear the word understand, I immediately think of Antigone’s monologue from Jean Anouilh’s Antigone. Understand! The first word I ever heard out of any of you was that word “understand.” Why didn’t I “understand” that I must not play with water – cold, black, beautiful flowing water – […]

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Elul 6: Want

August 17, 2018

I try to choose my words carefully. Especially when speaking to my children. Because I know that they are always listening. In particular, the word want. We don’t use it enough. We carelessly use the word need in its stead. But really, what do we need? According to Abraham Maslow, we have only a few […]

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Elul 5: Commit

August 16, 2018

*commit verb com·mit \ kə-ˈmit \ : to obligate or pledge oneself When we commit to an action, we are making a promise. When we commit to teshuvah, the promise we make is a sacred one. When we speak of the sacred promise between God and Abraham or God and the People Israel, we use […]

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Elul 4: Choose

August 15, 2018

One of the most powerful moments in the Torah comes in Deuteronomy 30:9: עִידֹ֨תִי בָכֶ֣ם הַיּוֹם֮ אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָרֶץ֒ הַחַיִּ֤ים וְהַמָּ֙וֶת֙ נָתַ֣תִּי לְפָנֶ֔יךָ הַבְּרָכָ֖ה וְהַקְּלָלָ֑ה וּבָֽחַרְתָּ֙ בַּֽחַיִּ֔ים לְמַ֥עַן תִּחְיֶ֖ה אַתָּ֥ה וְזַרְעֶֽךָ׃ *I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life—if you […]

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Elul 3: Prepare

August 14, 2018

Showing up to a Rosh HaShanah or Yom Kippur service without preparing makes for especially long days. There is a lot of liturgy. Pages and pages of it. And in many places, the services are passive experiences. Just sitting and listening to a lot of chanting and what sounds like mumbling. So why prepare? Preparation […]

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