September 13, 2007

Days of Awe: Who Decrees Severity? That Was Me

Here is more about why I love to celebrate and contemplate the Jewish New Year.

The Rosh Hashanah prayer Unetanneh Tokef concludes:

"Repentence, prayer and right action avert the severe decree."

Sounds like The Work to me.

In Biblical Hebrew, teshuva, repentance, literally means to turn around, to think differently. This return to the source is possible when we unravel the contents of the "I know" mind and come to see what lies beneath. The turnaround, a reversal of our original belief, allows the bigger picture of "what is," the infinite mind, to emerge; we are all things, and nothing is simply as it appears.

The Amidah portion of the Rosh Hashanah service also seems to speak of turnarounds:

N'varech et ayn hachayim v'cho neetbarech.
"As we bless the source of life, so we are blessed."

Prayer, tefillah in Hebrew, is an outpouring of the soul to the source. When done with sincerity, that outpouring is heard, and answered. We could say that, lovingly and sincerely asked, "Is it true?" is the language of the heart, as is the answer we hear when we really want to know the truth.

Tzedakah, literally "righteousness," is a word used for charitable giving as well as right action. The most charitable thing I know to do is to recognize my errors and make things right, to the best of my ability. When I question thoughts I have that seem unkind to others, to me, to the earth, to God—and I turn these thoughts around—I get my prescription for curing the sickness with which I have lived. I get instructions for making amends. I express my sorrow, forgive myself for being confused, ask (tefillah) what I can do for healing, and write my own prescription.

Let nothing in the world of our personal relationships, relationship to our own selves, and relationship to the earth, stand in the way of our loving relationship with What Is.

May all be inscribed in your Book of Life for a beautiful year/beautiful mind.


©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

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