News & Views from DATA

After the Holidays – Now What?

This period we passed through is certainly meant to be a source of inspiration for the coming year. Our Jewish hopes are to leave this season on a higher spiritual station than we were on the year before, in order to enter next year’s season in a way to take us yet higher. This is our climb up the ladder of Kedusha, of spiritual growth, rung-by-rung, year-by-year, throughout our lifetimes.

The main generator of our spiritual energy is the high-holiday period. With all our emotional and spiritual energy that we can garner at this time, we propel ourselves to new, elevated levels and see the world from a different vantage point, realizing our potential selves. The challenge now, is to remain connected to the generator in some way, and to build smaller “booster generators” to keep the electricity flowing throughout our wires for the rest of the year, until we get re-energized the following year.

I would like to share one piece of advice on how to hold on to the inspiration. Take a pen and paper, and list the prayers, experiences and ideas that gave you the most inspiration these past weeks. Then, focus on one or two of them, and consider how you might incorporate those same experiences into your prayers or observances throughout the year. Specifically label those things in your mind as “buttons” to push, that will get your mind back into the space of the high holidays. I once heard a leading sage in Israel speak of doing this with the Shabbat prayers, which are a special time for reflection and peace, to “return” to the high holidays, once a week, every week. Sometimes it can be done through an on-going act of kindness to a family member or one in need.

The most powerful generator of all is the study of Torah. Use a new class, book, or study partner as a way to build yourself up from the inside, that you yourself should become a source of inspiration for others like the high holidays were an inspiration for you.

The Torah says the “Eyes of G-d are upon the Land from the beginning of ‘the year’ until the end of ‘year’.” The commentaries note the discrepancy between ‘the year’ and ‘year’. Some explain, at the beginning of a new year, we say “this will be the year”, different, better, elevated, improved relationships with my spouse, family, with G-d. But, alas, by the end of the year it’s just “year”, no longer “the year”. Now’s the chance to take the steps to ensure that at the end of this year, we’ll say that was “the year”!

Author: deonnathan

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