The season is over
But not really.
The holy days touch you, they can (and hopefully will!) stay with you forever. There is something that the Kabbalists call “rishimu” which means an impression. Even when the flash of light passes, it leaves something of itself behind, and that “something” is real enough to take with you as you travel through this newly born year.
Step back a minute and think about how you felt when you heard the shofar at Yom Kippur’s end. It tells you (whether or not you realize it) that you are ready. A feeling of the victory of good over Other took place, one that you may not feel is real or enduring because you (at least on the surface) are the same old you.
No one stays the same. The rishimu is here, and it can be accessed again. There are three major moves you can make to retain something of the light that is really there, but hard to find when you are (like all of us) so drawn into a world that grabs your feelings and your time.
- NOTICE WHEN YOU HAVE A CHOICE IN FRONT OF YOU.
She knew she faced a choice; What she preached was, “You should genuinely like people who make you feel good (by entertaining, listening or whatever) or like everyone because they are part of the Tribe.” What was she going to practice?
2-RECOGNIZE THAT YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO ACTUALIZE THE POTENTIAL THAT MAKING A MEANINGFUL CHOICE OFFERS.
Janice knew that she could have just smiled, and continued walking. No bad feelings, no overt rejection. She could have said “sure” and headed off to the rest room hoping that there would be no more places left for two people. Passivity can be very inviting. Instead, because she wanted to be a person with enough integrity to walk her talk, Janice did something she had never done before. She asked herself whether Cathy is any less valuable than she is. She had liked the question well enough to make it the core of her next presentation. Cathy is part of her, part of the whole, part of the great and unique Unity of Hashem. She won. She found herself saying, “Sure. Let’s go further in. I think that someone there is leaving”.
3-AFTER YOU DO WHATEVER YOU CAN, LET GO AND LET HASHEM DETERMINE WHAT THE RESULTS OF YOUR CHOICES WILL BE, HE WILL HELP YOU MOVE FORWARD
“I see that there are two places right in the front, near Rabbi Cohen’s table” Janice said when it seemed that no one was leaving after all “Great!”. Rabbi Cohen’s wife came into the ballroom, found the table in seconds, and went back to the entrance to escort her aged mother to the table. The two places were clearly taken. After looking around, it was equally clear that there were not two places together available at the same table. Cathy turned around, and said, “You know what, Janice? I hope it isn’t going to make you feel bad, but I see a seat next to Leora, and I really would like to catch up with her. We both originally come from Cape Town, and I’m sure you’ll understand.” Janice understood.
Hashem let her stretch beyond her comfort level, but then took over once again. The next time a situation like this one arises, Janice will respond in a way that is spontaneous, smooth, and most significantly, real. She is like a runner, whose coach got him to the finish line.
Keep the story (or one like it) with you. It has what is arguably the most important message of all; You are strong enough to do it! You can make changes that are genuine enough and subtle enough to make you much closer to doing the job for which you were created.