#BlogElul Day 27: Bless

What does it mean, to “bless” something? To give someone “your blessing”? Every Friday night, we “make kiddush” – we say the blessings over candles, wine, and challah. But what is that DOING? I’ve given it some thought lately, as our religious habits have changed. A few years ago, everyone would gather around the table, and we sing the blessings together.... read more

#BlogElul Day 26: Create

Hebrew has two primary words for the idea of creating: borei and asah. Asah is the more mundane form of creation, the one we use when we make a clay ashtray or birdfeeder. Borei is reserved for God. It implies that it was created out of nothing. Despite this divison, the lesson remains that creating is not solely in the providence of God. We can create, and be partners with God in the act of creation.... read more

#BlogElul Day 25: Intend

There’s a saying about the road to hell. But one of the things I love about Judaism is how intention is integral to experience. When I pray, my kavannah (intention) is an essential component of the act. If the intention isn’t there, however, does my prayer not “count”? Of course it does. Developing the skills and habits of prayer carries its own merit. How much is a subject of... read more

#BlogElul Day 24: Hope

In his book “The Gift of Fear”, Gavin de Becker stays: “Worry is a way to avoid change; when we worry, we don’t do anything about the matter. Worry is a way to avoid admitting powerlessness over something, since worry feels like we’re doing something.” A few days ago on my other blog, I related the biblical story about Jacob when he went to meet Esau. In that narrative, Jacob did 3... read more

#BlogElul Day 23: Begin

Today is start of the last week of Elul. The beginning of the end. It is the point where Rosh Hashana begins to register for many of us. But if that were true, if we didn’t have 3 weeks of Elul behind us, we would feel disoriented, overwhelmed. In fact, I distinctly remember feeling that way in years past. As tired as I am, as un-enthusiastic as I am for the early (early-ER) morning davening, I... read more

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