When we try to understand what goes on in our children’s minds, we do so by observing their actions and behaviors for the purpose of comprehending and grasping their purpose in behaving a certain way. Perhaps in our work we attempt to comprehend our co-workers, or clients, so that we can accomplish the business before us.
However, when we attempt to understand our role in this world, our purpose in life, our belief in God, the answers are much harder to be found. The big questions we often contemplate at this time of year, as we are taking stock of our accomplishments and shortfalls from the past year, cause us to strive to understand the who, what, where and when of life today.
Understanding who I am and what my role is in this world takes great thought and open-mindedness. If I am to tackle such a question, I need to be open to the many possibilities before me. Perhaps my role is to solve something for one individual person, to make the world a better place, one soul at a time. Perhaps my role is to change a system or a way something function, and then I must understand my place in life in a different manner.
Understanding our belief in God presents an entirely different set of challenges. To be satisfied with some understanding of God, we must be open to the idea that God exists, and that, to at least some extent, we humans are not in control of absolutely everything. That is both unnerving and somewhat unimaginable, and yet very real and possible.
So for many of us, as we approach this time of year, we decide to focus on one specific area of understanding.
This year, let me work on understanding my family better.
This year, let me strive to understand my God.
This year, allow me to understand my self.
This year, guide me to understand the possibility of what I might accomplish in this world.
Through understanding, we will find our way to our God, to teshuvah and tzedakah.
Now let the sound of the shofar be heard;
And let our souls be awakened!
Rabbi Debbie Bravo
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