Friday, August 16, 2013

10 Elul: Reflection

My L-rd, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Your praise. - Shmoneh Esrai Prayer

As in water, face answers to face, so is the heart of a man to a man. - Proverbs Chapter 27

Rabbi [Judah HaNassi] would say: Which is the right path for man to choose for himself? Whatever is harmonious for the one who does it, and harmonious for mankind. - Pirkei Avot Chapter 2

Contemplate three things, and you will not come to the hands of transgression: Know what is above from you: a seeing eye, a listening ear, and all your deeds being inscribed in a book                               - Pirkei Avot Chapter 2

Elul is all about reflection and thought.  I am thinking about my relationships with others and with G-d.    I am thinking about my personal and spiritual growth.  I am thinking about whether I feel I am a better person that last year.  I am thinking about the changes I need to make for the new year.  I'm thinking about making Elul a productive time so that Rosh Hashanah is meaningful.

I listened to a lecture by Rabbi Ginsburg and he said something that I found amazing.  He spoke about the line we say as we start the Shmonei Esreh (the first quote above).  In Hebrew, the word for lips, Sfataim, also refers to limits.  We are asking G-d as we start the prayer, to remove the things that limit us so that we can do His work.

I hope G-d will help me to do what I need to do this Elul and help me live up to my potential.

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