Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Be Grateful

“Once we are grateful for what is, we can honestly evaluate whether we have helped creation attain perfection, or hindered it through our misdeeds.”
David Wolpe, Jewels of Elul 2007

The first of the Jewish high holidays is Rosh Hashanah, a time to appreciate and celebrate what we have. In the Jewish world, repentance begins with gratitude. Then we immediately begin to consider how we have sinned and symbolically cast those things away by naming them and tossing bread in the water to feed ducks and geese. I like to think by the time they snatch it up, the sin has flown off so they aren’t eating my yucky stuff. Yom Kippur, ten days later, is a day of repentance, a time to recognize how we’ve missed the mark, how we have hurt ourselves and others, and begin the work of repair. First be grateful and then on to spiritual scrubbing.

Today I’ll begin a list of the many blessings I am grateful for. I’ll read through the prayers I’ve written, go through my calendar. The big gratitudes like health and my family and friends will make the first ten easy to come up with. I’ll add another ten and more when I consider all the people and places and things that make my life so much better than it would be without them. Then are all the things I’m likely to forget, to consider my due, to take for granted. This is why I’ll be adding to my list right up to the last minute.

Baruch ata adonai, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed when I think of all I want to do. I’ve done so much explaining and so little praying. I’m going to sit here and breathe for awhile. Amen

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