So, here we are again. The ten days of repeating. Oops, I meant to type Teshuva.
Well, we keep repeating our mistakes. Is life one big repetition of routine and randomness? Work, home, shul, work, family, work, travel to and from work, exercise, health, Shabbat.
What is the bigger purpose? Our challenges, our successes, our nachas (joy)?
So, here we are again—another Yom Kippur.
Where can we find the strength to go on? To do Teshuva.
So, I opened my go to Sefer “Sparks of David” by Rabbi David Herzberg z”l who teaches Orot Shlomo, a commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach on Orot HaTeshuva, by Rabbi Avraham Isaac HaKohen Kook.
I open randomly to a chapter called Spiritual Cleansing
Quoting Rav Kook — “Teshuva is the healthiest feeling that a person can experience, and a healthy soul inside a healthy body will come to a point of abundantly blissful joy.”
Teshuva is a process of removing anything that blocks my Neshama, spiritual growth. That includes bad thoughts, arrogance, negativity, and anything not good.
“It all has to come out. Whatever the body doesn’t need and whatever the soul doesn’t need, has to be gotten rid of.
Teshuva, our life challenges is not a pleasant feeling-a nice little high. Teshuva is basically cleansing myself of all the impurities, all the things that I don’t want or need to be part of me.”
It is not confined to these ten days of repentance.
It needs to be done every day. We have the global trend called Mindfulness.
In this, we do daily meditation, and reflection, and focus on how we can be a better person each and every day.
We have daily prayer, daily opportunities to do good, be a good example, be a good parent, and spouse, be a better boss or employee, and have more tolerance, patience, and inner peace.
We have the ultimate Mindfulness in the weekly Shabbat and the annual cycle of Jewish festivals.
Life throws us curveballs. Work, people, our spouses, and children challenge us to grow and learn new tricks and phrases emotional intelligence, DBT, and more.
The above is a short spontaneous introduction to why my theme for my weekly Parsha blogs for 5783 is Body and Soul.
I will be searching and learning about these themes in the weekly pasha.
For inspiration, I will be referring to three great personalities and teachers — Rabbi Avraham Kook, Rabbi, Dr. Abraham Twersky, and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
I ask you to join me in this journey of finding the real you, finding inspiration, and the tools to make our lives meaningful and positive.
Indeed, there is a phrase that repeats itself in this week’s parsha
וַיְצַ֞ו אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֮ חֲזַ֣ק וֶאֱמָץ֒ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבִיא֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֣עְתִּי לָהֶ֑ם וְאָנֹכִ֖י אֶהְיֶ֥ה עִמָּֽךְ׃
And [God] charged Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and resolute: for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I promised them on oath, and I will be with you.”
This has a solid emotional intelligence theme here- Be strong and resolute aka resilient. Being resilient means facing difficulties head-on instead of falling into despair or using unhealthy coping strategies.
We all face challenges, criticism, obstacles, and setbacks– Moshe Rabbeinu challenged us to have resilience. Resilience is probably the number one tool to leading to a more balanced and happy life.
And this is so appropriate as we enter the new year, may we all be blessed to have resilience — be strong and resolute when facing our demons, when we וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ go out into the world, when facing our spiritual challenges and our facing our enemies, antisemites, and the anti-Israel (Zionist) movement– both physical and online. And have faith in God and in your calling and a healthy self-esteem.
As God has commanded us:
חִזְק֣וּ וְאִמְצ֔וּ אַל־תִּֽירְא֥וּ וְאַל־תַּעַרְצ֖וּ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֑ם כִּ֣י ׀ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ ה֚וּא הַהֹלֵ֣ךְ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א יַרְפְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֥א יַעַזְבֶֽךָּ׃
Be strong and resolute, be not in fear or in dread of them; for it is indeed your God יהוה who marches with you: [God] will not fail you or forsake you.