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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Elul 29 - Shanah Tovah! - by Rabbi Jim Bennett

“All beginnings are hard,” say the rabbis of the Talmud.  And so we come to the beginning and

the end.  The end of Elul. The end of what was, what has been.  The beginning of a new year,

the beginning of what will be, what can be, what should be, what might be.

As a friend of mine loves to say:  “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Ten two-letter words that speak

so much about possibility and responsibility.  Much that we will encounter in the coming year

is in our power, much can happen if and when we make it happen.  In those moments of victory

and success, we will revel in our own greatness, and we will remember that we have earned the

sense of self-satisfaction to know that we have created our own reality, that things are good,

that we have accomplished something.

And yet…and yet we know that this is not always the case.  Things will happen that are out of

our control, against our will, despite our effort, we will be confronted with moments of tension

and sadness and reality and loss and sadness and failure.  And in these moments, when we are

tempted to indict ourselves, we would well remember the teachings of the Torah:

“Beware, lest you forget Adonai, your God,…lest when you have eaten and are satisfied, and

have built nice houses and lived in them, when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your

silver and gold has increased, and all that you have has increased; and then your heart be lifted

up and you forget Adonai, your God who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the

house of bondage; . . . who fed you in the wilderness with manna,…and you might say: “My

power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.”  (Deuteronomy 8:11-17)

All that we are, all that we have, all that we shall be is a blessing.  We are partners with the

Holy One, and we are all a blessing.  As we reach the end and the beginning, may we each feel


Shanah Tovah!

Jim Bennett, Rabbi

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