Friday, September 13, 2013

Say the Sin Aloud

The Hasidim teach that doing good deeds make a difference in our lives and in the greater human world. The same is true when we do something unjust, unworthy, and unethical.

The act of repentance is not mere contrition of the heart. It goes deeper and speaks louder.

A famous Maggid taught that one can use language to penetrate our misgivings and our missteps. The same life force that made us commit the misdeed can bring us to breaking the silence and breaking open our hearts.

On Yom Kippur, the Vidui, the confessional, lists the many possibilities where human beings go astray. We need to speak each letter of our transgression as we make our plea for forgiveness.
Reciting and repeating each word aloud allows the letters to reform themselves into new realities.

This Yom Kippur may your letters fly upwards encouraged by your deep devotion through weeping and wailing, through loving and living.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

You Can Return

Throughout the ten Days of Awe, imagine returning to the person you want most to be.

Decide that no matter what has happened last year, you are able to be your true authentic self.

No hiding, no contradictions, no self-imposed hermitage. No pessimism. No judgments.

Anyone can start anew. Anyone can dip an apple into honey and taste the sweetness of a new relationship, a new work project, a new attitude.

The promise of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur calls us to optimism and hope, acceptance and clarity of purpose.

I begin this year with the power of study and the joys of learning in community.