Monday, September 9, 2013

Is Fasting Passe?

Fasting - is it too modern? Are we too weak? The following was a "prepent" posting from Amichai Lau-Lavie that I believe is a great argument for why we need to master our appetites to gain spiritual heights.
I’m starting a week-long raw food cleanse today, along with my friend and collaborator Shira Kline. it’s our second time doing this during the week leading from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. With lots of juices and fresh fruits and vegetables, we approach atonement with a focus on discipline and an energetic shift. 
It’s not a religious thing, but is it? 
It so happens that today is a minor Jewish fast day, the Fast of Gedalya, which is usually observed the day after Rosh Hashanah, but since this year the day after Rosh Hashanah was Shabbat, the fast was postponed a day. 
For me, the cleansing of the mind and the soul begins with the body. Many religions incorporate ritual fasting, but regardless of what God you pray to, the human body is the same. Fasting is an exercise in willpower, a way to balance brain and body. Fasting today is also great practice for Yom Kippur. 
Prepent Day 32: Focus on the spiritual, and on my relationship to faith and with God. These days remind me that God is in the body, that the temple is within, and that the ancient rites of sacrifice are a practice in learning limits and cultivating greater intimacy with the self. The spiritual work is in the simple daily acts. 
Emerson wrote, ”My days are made up of the irregular succession of a very few different tones of feeling. These are my feasts & fasts.” 
In that spirit, I dedicate today to increasing consciousness about eating and drinking. Even if you don’t fast today (many don’t), take a few minutes to think about your diet, when and how you eat, and one doable goal for this coming year that will nourish both the body and soul.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Were Your Services Dull?

How often did you look at your watch during shul or count the pages to the end?  Here is a nice article from Tablet Mag on "High Holiday Services Are Boring. Here’s How We Can Fix Them" by Abigail Pogrebin.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Best Pre-Rosh Hashana Read

Tis' the season to think about your prayers.  Some are writing about dangerous prayers. I reread “I, and Not an Angel” is an article originally published by Shlomo (Miles) Brody in 2012 on the subject of Intercessionary Prayers in Judaism which he opens with the following disclaimer:
"Warning: The Following Prayer May Be Dangerous to Your Spiritual Health.  Recite with Caution, and Only with the Proper Intention."
It gave me good thoughts and kavanna for my High Holy days.  As did Brody's other article titled Theological Truths vs. Spiritual Vibes: Nigunim, Heresy, and Machnisei Rachamim.

What are you reading this week?  Wishing each of you a heartfull Rosh Hashanah and may all your prayers be answered for the good.