The purpose of this blog is to provide something creative for Shabbat table conversation. Please print and share.
So on Rosh Hashana morning it's a little drizzly and I throw on my light raincoat.
new men's raincoats have become all the rage in Baltimore. Lightweight
and inexpensive. They won't keep you warm, but they will keep you dry.
As long as it doesn't rain too hard.
And you can have them in any color you want!
So long as it's black.
you know, regardless of whether or not my coat is hung in a sea of
look-alikes, I don't like to have to go searching for my coat. So I
developed a system to find my coat extremely quickly.
I turn the hanger around, hooking it on backwards.
no one in Baltimore is reading this, because if the word gets out,
everyone's going to do this, and then it won't work anymore.)
Well, actually, on Rosh Hashana this year, my foolproof system failed me for the first time in years.
Unbeknownst to moi, someone (whom I know) had hung his nearly identical black raincoat right beside mine, also with the hanger turned around.
You know where this is going. When Rosh Hashana services are over, I take the coat from the reversed hanger. I.e., his coat.
in the day, towards evening, I decide to go to a different synagogue
for the afternoon service. Again, a light drizzle, throw on the coat.
time I notice that it isn't quite fitting me right but it isn't wrong
enough for me to pay attention. I am in a hurry after all.
to this other synagogue and opt for the hooks instead of the hangers.
Doesn't really matter, there aren't so many coats and besides, my name
is in it, right?
The problem is, when I'm fixing to go home, I go for my coat and where I expect to find it, I find this other fellow's.
no," I'm thinking. He must have taken my coat by mistake. I could just
take his to him, but what if he's already realized his error and is en
route here to swap them?
So I leave it, and when I get home, I phone him up.
"Did you happen to be in such-and-such a shul tonight?"
But he's quicker-witted than I am.
"No, why is my coat there? Because I saw your coat in the other shul this morning where mine should have been."
Notice how I didn't accuse him of taking my coat.
But nor did I assume from the beginning that the error was mine!
"By the way," he added, "didn't you notice that it was a little big on you?" (he is about 50 pounds heavier than I).
"Well it wasn't raining, so I slung it over my arm."
"Oh, well that explains it."
see, he had also stumbled, thinking for a moment that I must have been
preposterously absent-minded not to notice that I had the wrong coat.
many times has this happened to you, when you saw an error that you
committed and assumed someone else had done it? (that's the weekly
question, by the way)
Last week I challenged you to choose one
character trait to change this year. It could be jumping to conclusions.
It could be a short temper. It could be complaining. Or perhaps
laziness. Maybe too much criticizing.
The trick to making it happen on Yom Kippur is:
Really regret it. Contemplate the damage you've done, or the
opportunities lost, due to this trait. Let yourself feel bad about this,
for a few moments.
2. Apologize if needed.
3. Commit to not doing
it again - just this one trait. But if you're truly committed, you'll
have a plan of how to eradicate it, such as reading a self-help book, or
practicing meditation, etc. Without a concrete plan, you're paying
lip-service but you're not real. Make it your mission, with daily
practice, to conquer this trait before next Rosh Hashana.
share these bad habits to a greater or lesser degree. In this sense,
they're like the ubiquitous, monotonous, homogeneous black rain coats. We've put on the homogenized raincoat of our socialization.
But to conquer one bad habit - even a small one - is so
rare, that doing so is like wearing a new custom-made coat. Do this and
there won't be any chance of mistaking it for someone else's. This is the path to revealing the real you beneath the socialized façade.
Wishing you a Shana Tova
PS - This
year's High Holidays prep class is a short 45 minutes. To hear the
audio and get the handouts, including the new "24 Questions to Think
About from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur", click here.
PPS - Help your friends and loved ones break in their new iphone or ipad: The most amazing Jewish app - http://tinyurl.com/amazingcalendarlink (Android version: http://tinyurl.com/amazingandroidcalendar )
And of course you can search our free database of the best Jewish books and gifts here: http://bestjewishkidsbooks.com .