Holydays: Inspiration: Parts 1-6

Inspiration: Parts 1-6
Rabbi Daria & Rabbi Josh

Preparing for Awe
We are now mid-way through the moon cycle (month) of Elul, which is the last month of the year before Rosh HaShannah.

It is customary during this period to blow the shofar every day (except for Shabbat) in order to begin the reflections and other preparations for an effective, powerful High Holyday experience as a kick-off to a new year. To enhance and focus spiritual preparation for these upcoming Days of Awe/Yamim Noraim [High Holydays], I will be sending out 3 weekly reflection prompts from now through the High Holyday season, for a total of 6 emails. This is the 2nd week’s prompts. Check your email if you missed last week’s prompts. These emails are being sent on Sunday or Monday mornings every week, depending on when the holiday falls.

These prompts can serve as simple, yet powerful writing exercises, revisiting experiences and feelings of the year that is ending, and envisioning ourselves in the year ahead. Some of these prompts are attempts to be specific and concrete, focusing your attention in very particular, grounded ways. Others are more “big picture” prompts.  You do not need to write a response to every question. Make the space to reflect, and use the prompts if they are useful. However, writing down one’s reflections can increase the power of the experience.

In addition to these writing prompts, check out the recent Shalom and the information there about DoYou10Q.com. It’s another avenue for reflection during this High Holyday season.

For those who would like time to reflect aloud with others, Rabbi Josh will lead September’s Oneg Group after services on the 2nd Friday of the month, which is also Shabbat Shuva this year- the Shabbat between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur. This Oneg Group will allow for reflection and sharing in a group setting.

In this overly busy season — and for many of us our overly busy lives — may we carve out for ourselves a unique gift of quiet time to explore our spiritual selves and begin to do the inner work that is at the heart of the holidays.

Please know that each of your rabbis are available to meet with you to discuss any questions or concerns that have arisen for you in this writing or the soul work you’ll be doing throughout the holiday period.  

Wishing you a healthy, sweet year,
 Rabbi Daria & Rabbi Josh
RabbiDaria@Oseh-Shalom.org, RabbiJosh@Oseh-Shalom.org

Writing
as a spiritual practice: Cheshbon HaNefesh (personal accounting of your soul) Home-Based Workshop

Preparing for Awe
A message from
Rabbi Daria & Rabbi Josh

Preparing for AweWe are closing out the 5779 High Holyday season. Jewish tradition says that our prayers are not only most powerfully between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur, but actually up through the last day of Sukkot- Shmini Atzeret.

So create some last moments to reflect during this last week of the High Holyday season. And may these reflections help us create a year full of sweetness, health, deep connection to oneself, one’s community, the world within which we live, and Judaism.

To enhance and focus our experience of reflection during these Days of Awe/Yamim Noraim [High Holydays], I have sent out 3 weekly reflection prompts from now through the High Holyday season, for a total of 6 emails. This is the 6th and final week’s prompts. Check your email if you missed the prior weeks’ prompts.

These prompts can serve as simple, yet powerful writing exercises, revisiting experiences and feelings of the year that is ending, and envisioning ourselves in the year ahead. Some of these prompts are attempts to be specific and concrete, focusing your attention in very particular, grounded ways. Others are more “big picture” prompts.  You do not need to write a response to every question. Make the space to reflect, and use the prompts if they are useful. However, writing down one’s reflections can increase the power of the experience.

In addition to these writing prompts, check out the recent Shalom and the information there about DoYou10Q.com. It’s another avenue for reflection during this High Holyday season.

In this overly busy season — and for many of us our overly busy lives — may we carve out for ourselves a unique gift of quiet time to explore our spiritual selves and begin to do the inner work that is at the heart of the holidays.

Please know that each of your rabbis are available to meet with you to discuss any questions or concerns that have arisen for you in this writing or the soul work you’ll be doing throughout the holiday period.  

Wishing you a healthy, sweet year,
 Rabbi Daria & Rabbi Josh
RabbiDaria@Oseh-Shalom.org, RabbiJosh@Oseh-Shalom.org

~~~

Writing
 as a spiritual practice: Cheshbon HaNefesh (personal accounting of your soul) Home-Based Workshop

Week 6
16- Spend some time considering your communal life – your synagogue community, other communities that are important to you. What are the particular strengths, gifts, that you contribute there?  How do you think others in this community view you? What might you like to change about how you  are there? How might you develop something new within yourself to offer communally in the coming year?  Is there anyone there with whom you need to do tshuvah?

17-Perhaps identify for yourself one or two particular mitzvot that you’d like to devote special time and energy to this year (rethinking how you give tzedukah; new ways to beautify Shabbat; reflecting on what you covet and what stirs your jealousy…) Focus on no more than two!

18 – Write a tefillat haderech for yourself – a traveling prayer for the road – for the journey of this new year.

Week  5
13- What’s been a particular challenge this year? How have you grown, changed this year?  What do you know that you didn’t know one year ago/last Elul and Tishrei?

14- How did you live in your body this year? How might you be more respectful/ responsible/joyous/connected physically?

15- How do you want to challenge yourself intellectually in the coming year?

Week 4
10    What’s a strong vivid image you have looking back on this year?  What might its significance be (why does it stand out for you?)

11 – Think about the past year and recall something you did that gave you deep pleasure, something that felt nourishing for you – what was it?  Describe it in detail, in all its richness…

Now that you’re done writing  it down, reflect on why/how this activity or situation was so full, joyous, meaningful for you.  How can you build this deep nourishing pleasure into your new year?

12-Identify two or three people in your life who can serve as teachers/mentors for you – perhaps a rabbi, a spiritual director. a counselor, a friend, a loved one – choose one or two individuals and schedule regular time to meet with them.  When you feel
ready, discuss with them your hopes for yourself this year, your fears, your concerns, your goals. Invite them to listen, to witness, to support your desire to be your truest self in the coming year.

Week 3

7- Has anyone sinned against
you this year, hurt you?  How? What do you need from them to achieve healing? Is there something you can do to help bring about that healing, justice, reconciliation?

Perhaps
that won’t be possible; if it’s not possible, how might you help yourself to find inner peace and move on?

8-We struggle not to become overwhelmed by the need for help and healing in our broken world.  Decide on one or two specific places/issues/needs where you will commit to spend some time and energy on
tikkun
in this new year.  Reflect in concrete terms on what that will look like for you.

9-What is the place love has in your life?  What are the qualities you most cherish? Remember them, rededicate yourself to them.

~~
A great “Thank you!” to Merle Feld, a mentor for Rabbi Josh and Rabbi Daria. She created these prompts. Further prompts for spiritual journaling on a wide range of subjects can be found in Merle Feld’s highly acclaimed memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (SUNY Press, revised edition 2007).  Visit Merle’s website www.merlefeld.com for support and guidance in developing a spiritual writing practice and to learn more about her writing – her poetry and prose can be found in numerous anthologies and prayer books, most recently Mahzor Lev Shalem and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary.  Her play, The Gates are Closing, has offered hundreds of congregations from Brooklyn to Beijing a powerful and moving introduction to the themes of the High Holidays.  Merle’s latest volume of poetry, Finding Words, was recently published by URJ Press.  as a spiritual practice: Cheshbon HaNefesh (personal accounting of your soul) Home-Based Workshop

 

Week 2

4- To whom do you feel grateful
this year?  How might you let them know?

5-Think of your family and closest friends: are you conscious of ways in which you may have harmed any of them, caused them pain in the past year, fallen short of the mark?  How? Choose one person and focus on him/her: what is the regret or guilt you feel toward
this person? What do you want the relationship to be like? What can you do to make amends, to bring about change?  (repeat as needed)

6-What do you feel should be your priorities for a day?  Make them conscious, recenter on them.

~~
A great “Thank you!” to Merle Feld, a mentor for Rabbi Josh and Rabbi Daria. She created these prompts. Further prompts for spiritual journaling on a wide range of subjects can be found in Merle Feld’s highly acclaimed memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (SUNY Press, revised edition 2007).  Visit Merle’s website www.merlefeld.com for support and guidance in developing a spiritual writing practice and to learn more about her writing – her poetry and prose can be found in numerous anthologies and prayer books, most recently Mahzor Lev Shalem and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary.  Her play, The Gates are Closing, has offered hundreds of congregations from Brooklyn to Beijing a powerful and moving introduction to the themes of the High Holidays.  Merle’s latest volume of poetry, Finding Words, was recently published by URJ Press.

Part 1: Holydays: Preparing for Awe: A message from Rabbi Daria & Rabbi Josh

Shabbat Shuva Special Oneg Group

For those who would like time to reflect aloud with others, Rabbi Josh will lead September’s Oneg Group after services on the 2nd Friday of the month, which is also Shabbat Shuva this year- the Shabbat between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur. This Oneg Group will allow for reflection and sharing in a group setting.

In this overly busy season — and for many of us our overly busy lives — may we carve out for ourselves a unique gift of quiet time to explore our spiritual selves and begin to do the inner work that is at the heart of the holidays.

Please know that each of your rabbis are available to meet with you to discuss any questions or concerns that have arisen for you in this writing or the soul work you’ll be doing throughout the holiday period.

Wishing you a healthy, sweet year,
Rabbi Daria & Rabbi Josh
RabbiDaria@Oseh-Shalom.org, RabbiJosh@Oseh-Shalom.org

Writing as a spiritual practice:
Cheshbon HaNefesh (personal accounting of your soul) Home-Based Workshop

WEEK 1

1- Recall a situation from this past year in which you felt proud of yourself, a situation in which some special aspect of yourself was expressed – don’t look for an Olympic gold moment, some splashy achievement  – rather, something small, quiet, subtle will do even better for this… Tell the story, describe the situation, letting the details return to you in all their fullness….

Follow-up for 1-   Now that you’re done writing it down, reflect on why/how the best part of you came out in that situation.  How can you be that fully realized, special “you” more often in the coming year?

2- How have you cared for yourself this year?  Make a list of all the ways – things you do every day, things you do sometimes, rarely.  Read your list over, notice what you’d like to increase.

3- Consider the direction you are traveling in – are you remembering to keep at your center that which gives meaning to your life?  Stop and refocus on what that is and how to live with that at the center.

A great “Thank you!” to Merle Feld, a mentor for Rabbi Josh and Rabbi Daria. She created these prompts. Further prompts for spiritual journaling on a wide range of subjects can be found in Merle Feld’s highly acclaimed memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (SUNY Press, revised edition 2007).  Visit Merle’s website www.merlefeld.com for support and guidance in developing a spiritual writing practice and to learn more about her writing – her poetry and prose can be found in numerous anthologies and prayer books, most recently Mahzor Lev Shalem and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary.  Her play, The Gates are Closing, has offered hundreds of congregations from Brooklyn to Beijing a powerful and moving introduction to the themes of the High Holidays.  Merle’s latest volume of poetry, Finding Words, was recently published by URJ Press.

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