By Rabbi Deborah K. Bravo
In order to see the opportunities, our eyes must be open. Sometimes opportunity is accompanied with fear of the unknown. Sometimes we are lazy. Sometimes life just gets in the way…. of living. During this month of Elul, perhaps we will not simply run through life, but look for a new opportunity.
What, we might say, are opportunities we should not ignore? Perhaps there are opportunities to find greater meaning in our lives; opportunities to help others who need our help; opportunities to make Jewish choices based on Jewish values.
Rabbi Chaim Stern teaches us the following: “My heart is hungry, my spirit thirsts, yet much of the time I am not aware. Once in a while I have the feeling that just beyond my hearing a voice is calling to me. There is something I need to look for, without which I am in darkness even when I think I see: it is myself I must find; it is You within me, O God, that I must find. But to find I must begin to seek.”
This past week, my children returned from Jewish summer camp. Though I could write many blogs about the impact of Jewish summer camp, this is not the purpose of my mentioning it now. Upon return, they were so excited to have learned birkat hamazon, the prayer after the meal, that together, the two of them and their cousins would recite it after the meals, with motzi before each meal. Though this had not been a custom in our home, the opportunity was presenting itself, and I could either acknowledge their thirst for something more, or rush to get through our meals faster. Since we work hard in our house to enjoy and appreciate our family meals together, never having phones at our table, nor watching tv while we eat, why would we not want to take the opportunity to bring a little more intention and sacredness to our kitchen table, as a family? And how much the better that it was initiated by our children!
May doors open for each of us during this New Year.
May opportunity find our way to our hearts.
And may we let it in to our souls.
Rabbi Debbie Bravo
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