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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Consoling words, feelings...

The seven weeks leading up to Selichot (right before Rosh Hashanah) are called the Seven Weeks of Consolation.  According to Rabbi Hillel of Patrich, these seven weeks are linked to the seven emotions:

  1. love
  2. discipline
  3. compassion
  4. ambition
  5. humility
  6. bonding 
  7. sovereignty
These are the feelings that offer us comfort and peacefulness. During these Seven Weeks of Consolation, we read the Haftarot (prophetic writings) from the writings of Isaiah, who offers words of hope and inspiration, such as, "Arise! Shine! For your light has arrived and the glory of God will be upon you." These  reassuring words could surely touch several of those emotions of R' Hillel, above.  

What words come to mind that you relate to the seven emotions?  
What instances in your life can you relate to the seven emotions? 
Is there a single event in your life that collects all or almost all of these emotions?

Understanding how we relate to the events is our lives, and knowing what makes us happy and being able to name it is a key to unlocking some of our baggage.  As Elul continues and we continue to unlock some of our pathways to self-understanding, we work in the lonely world of the self.  Know, however, that you are surrounded by a Congregation and people that embraces this discovery, and with that you are never alone. 

Extra food for thought: the first Torah portion read during Elul is Shoftim, the parashah that commands the creation of a justice system using a circuit of judges and consequences appropriate to the cause.  What do you make of Elul and a system of justice?  Interesting connections therein, for sure.

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