#BlogElul 29: Return

#BlogElul graphic

It’s Elul again!

Wow, I did such a good job last year I’m not sure I can add anything to it. It’s the last #BlogElul of the season.

This year I didn’t do as well in terms of consistent blogging as last year, there was a lot more going on and I did miss a couple of times. Oh well. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. We can set our intentions, and then we do the best we can, given Life, the Universe and All That.

So today’s word is Return, which is the literal translation of Teshuvah, often rendered as Repentance. We wish to return to our previous state of purity and grace.

We quote Lamentations 5:21 and say:

כא הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ יְהוָה אֵלֶיךָ ונשוב (וְנָשׁוּבָה), חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם
21 Turn Thou us unto Thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.

So what does it mean to return and be renewed? Does it mean that we don’t remember anything that went before, that we are a blank slate, like young children? I don’t think that’s feasible, or indeed desirable for adults. We don’t necessarily need amnesia, although in some cases we might desire it. Some things are just too uncomfortable to think about. But if we can purge ourselves of the feelings of guilt and shame that make it so hard to live with some of the things we have done, we can face the rest of our lives with much more hope and equanimity.

This makes me think of the coaching work that I am learning to do, and will continue to learn and to practice in the coming year. I hope that by this time next year I can call myself a certified Life and Weight Loss coach, and will be able to help people sort out their feelings and thoughts, and rid themselves of those that do not serve them. Life is so much lighter and better without the burden of unhappy thoughts.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and productive 5775, and thanks so much for travelling this road with me. Thank you again to Rabbi Sommer for setting this up every time, it is truly the highlight of my blogging year!

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