Friday, September 16, 2011

Elul 17: Transforming Curses into Blessings

Have you ever paused to consider the blessings and curses in your life? Read this sentence, and then close your eyes for 30 seconds to do so. Go ahead, try it!


We all have things that we appreciate, and circumstances that we could do without. Parashat Ki Tavo, which we are reading this week in the Torah, delineates in alternatively abundant delight and horrific despair the good things that will happen to us if we follow God's mitzvot / commandments, and the terrible things that will ensue if we do not. It is in fact notable that there is no middle ground - it seems to be all or none.

The reality, however, is that we all have a share of blessings and curses in our lives, often (but not always) independent of our behavior. The Torah's theological stance does not necessarily align with contemporary ways of understanding God and our lives.

Nonetheless, we are now in the latter half of the month of Elul, leading up to Rosh Hashanah. This is the month of heshbon ha-nefesh, self-reflection with an eye toward spiritual inventory. Perhaps the essential question of Elul is, how can I transform myself such that some of the curses in my life become blessings?

Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah!


This post is one in a series of thoughts for Elul, the month before Rosh Hashanah; I am trying to post one every day of the month, except for Shabbat Here are links to the previous posts:

Elul 16: Things to Remember in Elul

Elul 15: New Year of the Soul

Elul 14: Translating the Self

Elul 12: What's Ten Years?

Elul 10: Teshuvah Three-Step

Elul 9: Vidui and the "Jewish Science"

Elul 8: The Two Types of Forgiveness

Elul 7: The Sounds of Elul

Elul 6: If you had only one request from God

Elul 5: High Stakes Accounting

Elul 3: Teshuvah Inventory Questions

Elul 2: The Spaces In-Between

Elul 1: Resonances of the Shofar

Rosh Hodesh Elul: What's more important than electricity?

Follow these and many other daily posts on Twitter with the hashtag #BlogElul.

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