Published Date: September 03, 2017
Root Source teacher Rabbi Adler has started a 30 day series of Torah thoughts.
30 days/ 30 reflections leading to Rosh Hashanah
New Years resolutions have a different quality than Rosh Hashanah ones. Interview the person on the street in December about their resolutions and you might hear ideas about losing weight, stop smoking, less time on social media, being more careful about spending money, curtailing alcoholic beverages and the like. These are all great ideas and should be highly encouraged. The tone of Elul, however, is more reflective, and responses range from more synagogue, more study, more prayer, more charity, more family, more sensitivity, more God, more Israel, more kindness, more Shabbat…..New Years tends to be about “less,” and Rosh Hashanah tends to be about “more.” And in this month of Elul, what “more” could you ask for?
This is a real good question: What should I be thinking about when hearing the shofar? Are there things to concentrate or meditate on, or is it best to close your eyes and let the spirit take you? I think it’s powerful to concentrate on the shofar carrying upward your requests for what’s most precious to you. How do you figure that out? The awful situation with Hurricane Harvey, may everyone be safe, rescued and healed, can help us. Imagine you’re in Houston, you open the bathroom door, and water is seeping in at an alarming rate. In a flash, all the rooms in your home are now covered with enough water to tell you to get out! You have 2 minutes. QUICKLY!! What will you grab?? What will you never allow a flood to eradicate forever if you can help it? Family? Money? Pictures? Sentimental items? Jewelry? Religious things? Books? Irreplaceable clothing? Whatever you’re grabbing out of this disaster is a good measure of what’s most important, or represents what’s most important. Make a list. Take it with you to the synagogue. THAT’S what you concentrate on when hearing the shofar. May our lists be worthy of Heavenly blessings.
At a well known medical school, there was only one thing that stood between success and failure: the dreaded Final Exam. All nighters and espresso coffees and Red Bulls were the essence of those weeks leading up to the Big Event. Red eyes described not only all night flights. On the Big Day, in the largest lecture hall, all book bags and electronic media were ordered outside the room. Students returned to their seats, nervous, exhausted, terrified. The professor passed out the Final Exam to these most promising future doctors. Expecting stapled pages, each was surprised to receive one overturned sheet. What’s going on? Where’s the rest? At the count of 3, each turned over the sheet, to discover just one penetrating question: “What is the name of the woman who cleans here in the afternoon?” In looking for ways to enhance our relationships this coming year, let’s remember to ask the names of those who are a hum in the background but who serve us faithfully
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