Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#BlogElul 7: Be


One of my favorite movie quotes is from Aladdin, when Robin Williams (z"l) as the Genie has turned himself into a bee, and he's buzzing around Aladdin.

"Beeee yourself!" he proclaims.


Isn't that what this process of Elul is all about?
Reminding us to be ourselves, to be our best selves, to find the self that we want to be....

Be yourself....
It's exhausting work trying constantly to be someone else.

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 imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Monday, September 1, 2014

#BlogElul 6: Search



My hand searches for his,
reaching into the empty place.
I search my mind 
for more fleeting moments, more memories.
I search the faces 
of every almost-9-year-old I encounter and I wonder.
I search the eyes 
of my living children, worried and afraid.
I search my heart 
for the courage to honor his life.

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 imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

#BlogElul 5: Know


(Reposting this poem from last year's #blogElul, because I really like it.)

What do I
know?

Facts
Dates
Weights
Measures
Phone numbers
Birthdates
Ideas

We are a 
collection of
data. 

What do I 
really 
know?

The touch of her fingertips
The feel of his breath
The light in his eyes

The presence of
love. 

This I know. 


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 imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#BlogElul 4: Accept


I accept that
I may not
be able to do
everything
that I want to do.

I accept that
things do not
always
work out
the way that
I want them to.

But do not think that
my acceptance
is also
acquiescence.

Because
it is
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 imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

#BlogElul 3: Bless


Lately I've been having a hard time with words of blessing.
They certainly don't trip off my tongue.

How to speak of blessing when it just doesn't seem right?

But then again...how not?

Last year I wrote about finding the blessings within the darkness.

I could not even begin to imagine what the next months would hold for us.

And yet....there are still blessings to be had.

We say "may his memory be for a blessing."

Blessings aren't always about joy, I've come to discover.
Blessings have more depth than that, I think.

It doesn't make the words that much easier to say, though.

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 imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#BlogElul 2: Act


Actions speak louder than words.
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
The shortest answer is doing. (Lord Herbert)
All know the way. Few know how to walk it. (Bodhidharma)
Do not be wise in words, be wise in deeds (Proverb)

If you read all of these quotes, you would think that words are unimportant and that only deeds matter.

And in truth, actions are important. The high holy days ask us to change our actions.

But there's also our words. Words matter. Words are important. What we say and how we say it? These are important and critical parts of how the world works. If we say the wrong words, the bad words, the mean or uncaring words, the hurtful words, the thoughtless words....

Words matter.
Deeds matter.

It all matters.

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 imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#BlogElul 1: Do


And so it begins.
The month of Elul.

People often ask me how to begin to take on religious observances. "I want to feel more connected," they might say.

"Just do it," I will reply.

Isn't that the Jewish way, after all? Na'aseh v'nishma. We will do and we will hear. It's the way that the Israelites accepted the Torah. Do first, understand afterwards.

So often we are consumed by the understanding, and in our modern way, we want to fully "get" it before we do it.

The work of Elul doesn't always work that way. The High Holy Days don't always work that way.

Sometimes you just have to jump into the deep end, feet first, nose pinched tightly, anticipating the initial shocking cold of the water but knowing that it will soon become a second home. Just do it.

I am approaching this month with incredible trepidation. I'm struggling mightily with the themes of the holy days, let me tell you, and I'm dissolving into tears at just the thought of reading some of those words of the liturgy aloud. And yet, here I am. Doing this thing.

I want the whole world to stop this year and announce that the holy days have been cancelled. I'm not ready for them. I can't be ready, I can't have them here.

And how silly that idea is, I know. My practical self tells me how ridiculous it is.

So here I am.
Trying to make something, something, something....from the nothing that threatens to consume me.

Just do it.
Here we go.
Elul, be gentle....

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 imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.