Sunday, January 1, 2012

Good Advice for 2012

Someone wished me a "Shana Tova" today and it took me off guard.  Of course in Israel today, it was a normal Sunday work day so I had mostly forgotten that it was New Year's Day when I received this greeting.

I also received an unexpected email from Chief Rabbi Lord Dr. Soon-to-be-unemployed Jonathan Sacks titled: Three Resolutions for the New Year.  I am sharing his third tip as it pertains to the business of this blog, tefilla; if you'd like to read the whole post click here:

Third, pray. Prayer is our dialogue with the infinite Other. It’s also hard, which is why we have prayer books. The finest collection of prayers is the book of Psalms. It embraces the spectrum of feeling from despair to jubilation. Prayer is to the soul what exercise is to the body, and without it we become emotionally flabby.

Some people don’t pray because they try it and it does not work. They forget that prayer is done best in the company of others, in a holy place, in song, the language of the soul as it reaches out toward the unsayable. The most life-transforming prayers are choral not solo.

Iris Murdoch has a lovely analogy for what prayer can achieve. She describes looking out of a window in an anxious and resentful state of mind, oblivious of her surroundings, brooding on some resentment, feeling sorry for herself. Then, suddenly, she sees a hovering kestrel. “In a moment,” she says, “everything is altered. The brooding self . . . has disappeared. There is nothing now but kestrel. And when I return to thinking of the other matter it seems less important.” She calls this “unselfing”, and that is what prayer achieves at its best. It opens our eyes to the wonder of the world.


I think it is great advice and honest.  Wishing you all a Gregorian Shana Tova

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