Thursday, September 6, 2012

Teshuvah for the Explicit and Implicit -- Lessons Learned on the First Day of School

Two days ago, my daughter started kindergarten. As we were walking home together, I asked her how the day went.
"OK, Abba," she said cheerily, "but I don't think I learned that much."

"Well," I said, "it was just the first day. But didn't you learn where your classroom is, and who your teacher is, and who the other students in your class are, and how to find the bathroom and the lunchroom, and what to do if the fire alarm goes off?"

"Hmm," she said. "OK, maybe I learned a little."

Everyone who is involved with education knows that teaching includes not only the explicit curriculum -- the lesson-planned, syllabus-ified, expert-reviewed and committee-approved class material -- but also the implicit: the atmospheric, unstated, not-necessarily-obvious principles that dictate how we interact with others and our surroundings.

So too with our worldly behavior. When looking back over the past year in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 5773 and considering what we could have done better, perhaps we need to reflect not just on what we said or did, but also the things that we did NOT say or do, yet were essential pieces of the picture of our lives.

Teshuvah / repentance is meant not just for the explicit, but for the implicit as well.  Shanah tovah!

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