Start Anew

A teaching of Rabeinu (our Rabbi) Yonah ben Abraham Gerondi, a renowned medieval Rabbi, most famous for his ethical work The Gates of Repentance:

“First thing is to drop the burden of your past completely from your shoulders. Start anew as if you were born today. Now, for (the remainder of Elul) three times a day examine your actions (morning, afternoon, evening). If you find any negative behavior confess to God over it. This practice will slowly distance you from all sin, since next time temptation comes your way you will say to yourself, ‘how can I have the chutzpa to do this sin, and then confess for it later to God.’” He went on to write, “Drop the Past! G-d created the world in a way that screams renewal. Every day is a brand new beginning. Even if you fall a thousand times, drop it all and start over. Drop the voice of the yetzer hara (evil inclination) saying “how can you dare forget your past?”

We are two weeks away from the Holy Days. It’s not too late to begin the process of change and form new habits! So much work to do, and as I watch the moon waning each night (the blessing of driving home late every night) I count down the remaining days. We are at the halfway point.

Dearest congregants, doing introspective work sometimes brings up feelings and memories that are difficult to process. My door is always open to you to talk anytime, but especially now. Please call or email me; you are more important to me than anything else on my to-do list.

Rabbi Debbie Israel