Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Post Yom Kippur Post

"Man's inhumanity against man."  That's what Irwin Berman said to his son Seth as he walked exited the theater after seeing "Bang the Drum Slowly."  That's what I'm thinking about now. So much of what he confess on Yom Kippur is man vs. man.  So much of our pain in this life is casused by us to eachother.

The words we pray are not meant to be incantations. Rather, they are calls to inner and outer change.  We're guaranteed for results if we do the 13 attributes of G-d.  That's what we're told, to do them, not simply to say them. (This was a point made by Rabbi Steve Weil in his Teshva address at my school on Thursday).

Yom Kippur has passed and that's one of myriad thoughts passing through me.

My Hebrew birthday is on the thirteenth of Tishrei, this coming Shabbos.  It's always a big deal, this year a little moreso. Dovid HaMelech said, "Let us know how to count our days and that will bring us a heart of wisdom."  So, we're supposed to count; we're supposed to resist the temptation to say we've stopped counting, or  - if as if it's possible - to actually not remember what number we're hitting on a birthday.

I know a physically fit  fellow who bikes regularly and who recently turned sixty.  When someone told him he sure didn't look sixty he replied that whatever he looked the fact was that he was sixty. Sounds right.  It's important to stay in shape, stay positive, always grow, and also to know the number of years that we've been on this earth and  - with G-d's continued grace -to  keep counting.

I wish I was as in the moment as I was six years ago when I wrote this piece.. I am unfocused, feeling the starts of a cold, trying to fight it. And in between tea and nose blowing I'm writing.

In the seasonal spirit of confessing I confess that I resisted looking at Alan Lew's book for years. That having been said allow me to tell you that I read parts of it this year and found it filled with powerful and honest truths.  Like this one:

"A good way to catch a glimpse of precisely what is in our hearts is to watch, to become mindful of what keeps carrying our attention away as we try to focus on the words of the High Holiday prayer book." - Alan Lew (This Is Real And You Are Completely Unprepared, page 190)

May we all be blessed with a wonderful year and eyes and time and hearts to appreciate each one of our blessings.


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