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Is Our Religion Getting in the Way of Our Health?

 

Matzah joke

Well my friends, it’s obvious that I’ve been neglecting my blog. I’ve been enjoying my other projects and you could say I use up all my writing energy elsewhere with not much left for my blog.

So I guess we’ll see what will be the fate of the 5 Pillars. Lord knows I don’t want to give up on the whole blogging thing, but at the same time, I often feel guilty when the posts aren’t frequent enough.

Let’s talk about something that has been weighing on my mind lately.

Really, this is more of a rant / vent about something I don’t have an answer for. This is something that has popped into my brain as I’m recuperating and getting back on schedule from our week long marathon called Pesach.

Is our religion getting in the way of our health?

Another way I would phrase this question is:

“Do our Holiday customs make us unhealthy?”

Ouch!

For those of my readers out there (and I know you’re out there!) who wouldn’t dare say a negative thing about our way of life, I’ll try to tread lightly, but I gotta tell you – this isn’t the first time I’ve thought of this concept. (please, spare me the hater comments)

Let me explain:

The holiday of Pesach comes along with many Laws and Customs. Many of which don’t exactly scream healthy. Let’s examine a few of them:

1) According to Hagaddah, we are instructed to drink 4 cups on wine in one evening. (and then do that again the next night)

2) We are instructed to eat Matzah:

a. 1 whole Matzah for the Matzah portion of the seder, (minimum you can eat ½)

b. ½ Matzah for Korech (the sandwich).

c. 1 whole Matzah for Afikoman

So according to the Haggadah – for those of us math whizzes – that’s 2.5 Matzahs that we HAVE to eat entirely. (oh and the first matzah needs to be eaten within a few minutes).

3) We have a full Yom Tov meal – usually 3 courses

4) Aside from the Seder, we are instructed to have a full meal for lunch after Shul, and then another full meal hours later for dinner. By full meal, I mean eat fish AND meat.

Shall I continue?

I am somewhat bothered by some of our traditions-turned-Halacha that have been solidified throughout our generations.

Allow me to continue.

Many of my friends, family and the wonderful world of the Imamother forum have similar complaints of digestion issues over Pesach. Many have constipation, others are running to the bathroom while others just feel fat, bloated with discomfort.

I gave this some thought and here’s what I have come up with.

It is WONDERFUL that our tradition is to do away with ALL processed foods on Pesach. It’s excellent that we don’t have chemicals and additives in our foods. Everything is homemade – from the juice we drink, to the seasonings – it really is excellent for our health.

However, (and this is a big however) – our diet over this holiday isn’t exactly one to be admired.

A) Meat, Matzah and Dairy products are not constipation friendly. They plug us up!

B) We have done away with many vegetables and fruits that help maintain healthy digestion. Foods like Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, kale, or berries which are very high in fiber etc …. are not allowed because they cannot be peeled. So other than a salad, we are left with very heavy and starchy vegetables (or kugels which aren’t very light on the stomach either)

Obviously I wouldn’t (publicly) suggest going back on years of traditions as I know these are important, but I cant help but feel some of our “Laws” (and I put laws in quotations because eating only a peel-able vegetable is NOT a law) are not very good for our health. I have a hard time understanding why our infallible Torah would instruct us in ways that can G-d forbid cause us to be ill.

Luckily, Pesach is just one week long and it only comes a year. And now that it’s over, we have just enough time to get back to our healthy habits before its time to combat all that Cheesecake on Shavuos! Constipation-Leunig

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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New Year – Not New Plan :)

calvinHappy 2012 everyone !!!

My grandmother always reminds me that January 1st is NOT the Jewish New Year, and shouldn’t be celebrated, but to me, I always felt it’s the perfect opportunity to take a small breath, look at the calendar and see where we are headed and where we are going.

So, 2012 – what’s on the To Do List for this year?

To find out the BEST New Year’s resolution, all you need to do is ask yourself the following question:

What do I complain the most about?

Simple yet effective.

Complain about your weight?

Complain about how stressed you are?

Complain how frustrating your job is?

Well there ya go!

Now you know what needs working on.

I asked my husband a few weeks what I complain about – and obviously he didn’t want to answer. He was scared it was one of those “Do I look fat in this?” type questions but I reassured him I really wanted to know. It wasn’t much of a surprise when he told me the one or two things I bring up the most. Good! Now I know what I need to work on.

This year, I don’t really plan to begin any new resolutions. Instead, my plan is to keep doing what I know to be right and keep at it. Obviously it isn’t always easy, and there are oh so many bumps along the way, but the point is to keep going. Finding my pitfalls and trying to work around them (or through them) will help ensure my success.

What’s That On My Plate?

So once again – I’m focusing on stepping up my healthy eating. Each time I do my detox I feel more energetic and healthier. And with each time I do the program, it kick starts my healthy eating (its seriously awesome people!)

I hope to incorporate more raw foods in my menus. Even if my plate has plenty of vegetables on it, it doesn’t come close to eating RAW – raw foods are ALIVE with nutrients, vitamins and minerals and nothing beats them. I noticed this on Shabbos when I looked around the table and saw everything I had prepared was cooked. Imagine how thrilled my husband was when I told him we’d be eating more raw this year J (and more vegan) hehe.

My neighbor Meir, is very knowledgeable in eating locally and sustainably. This is not my strong area so it’s always good to have a chat with him. He’s been recommending how to start my organic garden, where the best Farmer’s Markets are and he’s introduced me to like minded people. Recently, Meir has been harvesting his own organic Wheat Grass. It almost sounds like a drug when you do some research of its health benefits. He has been juicing it and passing it along to me and woah what a rush!!!! I call it – Liquid Energy!! (its some serious stuff…)

Watch out for that Cliff! What Cliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiif…..

My biggest pitfall is The Holidays. I don’t have it completely under control, as Tishrei found me eating cake and lots of other goodies that ended up making me feel sick. (feel free to read my Tishrei Report Card with all those exciting details)

Another area that needs improving is working through the emotional difficulty I have when I eat at other people’s houses. Sure, I work my tushy off to plan ahead of time, bring my own food if necessary, and speak to my hosts to make sure there is food I can eat. But there is often a feeling of “why me?” that comes along with it. It’s always a struggle to sit at a table watching everyone enjoying something yummy, and I’m sitting and eating carrots. Yes, I understand the health benefits and acknowledge that in the long run I’m better off without that delicious yummy Trifle dessert, but it doesn’t take away that sometimes it’s frustrating. At some point, I’ll figure out how to get over it. (hey, I never said I was perfect.)

Oh Exercise – my arch nemesis!

Show me someone who loves to exercise, and … that won’t be me Smile

For me, the hardest part of exercise is getting back into the groove. Maybe I’ve taken a few days off because of a partying weekend… or maybe I wasn’t feeling too hot so I skipped my usual Pilates. It’s that “getting back into it” that kills me, and I have yet to find a way to keep it consistent so that exercise is a constant with no long periods of time without it. (tips and suggestions are welcome!)

That pretty much sums up my Health plan for 2012. cow

What’s YOUR new year’s resolution???? Do tell!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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Recreational Health: Got the Chanukah Blues? 8 Easy Tips to Get Into Holiday Spirit

 

I was chatting with a dear friend of mine Miss. S – who is a single gal and lives in Brooklyn. When I asked about her plans for Chanukah, what kind of exciting things were going in on NY, she sadly told me that because she has a rigorous work schedule, she won’t be attending any parties. In short, she told me that her Chanukah will consist of “Buying a Donut on the way to work.” Obviously she wasn’t very happy about it.

So here are a few simple tips for all you single ladies (or any ladies) out there who feel they won’t be able to celebrate with the masses in their little apartments. These ideas might sound too easy or small, but they are very impactful for getting into the spirit of the holiday.

1) Make latkes after work. Sounds simple I know – but it makes a HUGE difference. Nothing feels like Chanukah like the smell of frying latkes in your apartment.

2) Play Dreidel – but make it Interesting – Dreidel is fun, but why not kick it up a notch? Personally, I always was a fan of “strip dreidel” but if that’s not your thing, how about adding a poker / gambling element to it for an added twist?

3) Light Menorah as an Apartment: as a single girl I remember feeling a little blue during Chanukah since it was just me and the other singles in my apartment. There was an element of Chanukah spirit missing. Well, I say – DO IT !!!! Speak to your roommates, and decide what time you want to light (it could be late at night too) and jam it up! Sing the songs, dance around, play music, play guitar (if you do), whatever to crank up the Chanukah a bit.

4) Host a gift swap – you have lots of single friends – guaranteed they are all looking for ways to make Chanukah more joyous. Make a list of the ladies in your building complex and host a Secret Santa! (or as my sister in law Chaya properly named it: Mystery Maccabee!) It’s a WIN WIN! And at the end, you get a Chanukah present. Smile

5) Block Party anyone? If you’re hosting a gift swap, maybe you can get all the girls together and have a small party! It can be over the weekend (so you won’t have to get up early for work) and have a little shindig … it can be as elaborate or as simple as you are able to.

6) Night Activity! Remember in overnight camp – there was night activity? How about each night of Chanukah (or on the few nights that you’re together with your roommates) plan a little activity. It can be playing a board game, doing a puzzle, watching a movie (feh Smile).

7) Don’t forget about your day job! We tend to think of Chanukah as nighttime activities with Menorah lightings and parties, but don’t forget to bring some of the festivity into the daytime! Bring in donuts for your co-workers, decorate your cubicle (or desk) and if you’re REALLY ambitious, maybe plan a little special Chanukah lunch for the people at your work. (I know, might be too much but at least it will get you thinking of ideas Smile)

Well my dear New York gal (and everyone else), I gave you 7 ideas for a festive Chanukah…. Now it’s YOUR turn to give me the 8th idea !!!

Happy Happy HAPPY Chanukah …

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A quick reminder. I will be announcing my Giveaway Winner on Sunday, December 18th. It’s not too late!

Click Here to Enter

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Recreational Health

 

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Mental Health: The Best Chanukah Gift Ever!!!!

comic 2

This post is not my original idea. I found this idea from a recent article on the Chronic Babe website. The woman who runs the website, Jenni, blogs about Chronic Illness. She gives tips for maintaining a healthy balance in life, something that’s imperative to people who live with illnesses.

I read her recent newsletter entitled “The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself” and I was IMMEDIATELY inspired. So I’ll just shut up, and get right to it …

The BEST Gift you can Give Yourself…

P.T.M.O.

Permission To Miss Out.

It’s the simplest of things, but for some reason I needed this lesson to be spelled out for me. Permission To Miss Out means allowing yourself to say “I’m staying home tonight.” It means not going to EVERY Chanukah party or Menorah Lighting. Not buying a million gifts for every niece and nephew, and it means deciding not to bake a thousand donuts for the Shul Chanukah party. Permission To Miss Out is an incredible gift that allows anyone to realize their limits and to pick and choose instead of trying to do it all.

I needed this lesson because this is something I do EVERY SINGLE year (without realizing it). I get very excited when the holidays come (no matter which holiday, it’s always an exciting time!) and of course Chanukah is no different. Just the other night I was going through all the upcoming events in our community and I even picked out what I’m going to wear!!! (yes, my husband rolled my eyes) I am in the process of buying and wrapping all my gifts, planning what goodies I want to bake to bring to my in laws … and of course planning the family Chanukah shindig. Then yesterday, I read this article and it hit me like a ton of bricks! This is what I do every single year. Every year I get wrapped up (quite literally) in all the excitement, and I go into the holiday planning to go to every party, every holiday lighting and halfway through Chanukah I am exhausted, burned out and upset that I end up missing that last few events…

Why hadn’t this occurred to me sooner? It’s time I learned the beauty in PTMO.

So last night I went through all the different events and stuff I very much want to do, and I prioritized. I chose 2 or 3 parties that I know FORSURE I don’t want to miss, and the rest is completely optional. This way, I won’t go in with unrealistic expectations that by the 5th night of Chanukah if I SEE another latke I’ll practically puke. And somehow, this little PTMO exercise instantly helped me feel a lot calmer about the whole holiday.

While this article was geared for people who have illnesses where they need to be extremely careful how much they over extend themselves during this busy season, I felt that this concept really relates to EVERYONE.

We ALL do so much ALL the time and even though physically we may feel we can handle it, it’s crucial we learn that fine line between doing and overdoing.

We can use a little bit of PTMO in our lives and feel happy that we can enjoy the holiday without burning the (Chanukah) candle at both ends.

Happy Chanukah everyone !!!!

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Don’t Forget –

My Chanukah Giveaway (AKA – FREE MONEY !) is right around the corner!

Someone mentioned to me the other night that they didn’t post my blog or tweet it because they wanted to give someone else a chance to win. Please know that EVERYONE is eligible to win (except the guy I sleep with) – so feel free to spread the word !!! Smile Smile

Click Here for more details about the Giveaway

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Mental Health

 

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Spiritual Health: Chanukah – Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

 

going to hell

I remember sitting in Tanya  class when I was about 13 years old. We were studying Chapter 7, which discusses the spiritual essences in every being. Our teacher explained that there is a spiritual difference between forbidden and permissible items. While all living and non-living objects have a spiritual essence, the essences are derived and powered from different spiritual sources and levels. The source of objects essence is the determining factor whether an item is allowed for Jewish people.

For example – Pork has a different spiritual source than beef  – therefore pork is not allowed while kosher beef is.

(If I have not confused you yet, congratulations! For more explanation, click here after reading the rest of my blogSmile)

My Rabbi teacher then continued to explain the following concept:

“Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should.”

So there I am, a 13 year old kid, and in simple terms my teacher basically just told me that just because ice cream is kosher, doesn’t mean I should have it.

WHAT!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! (I even asked him this exact ice cream analogy)

He explained that when you hold yourself to a higher standard – you refrain from things you urge and desire. By doing so you break the hold that the urge had over you. (Hayom Yom Shevat 27)

Needless to say, at age 13 I thought this was totally bogus. First, you tell me all the things I’m not allowed to do. And trust me, in Judaism there is a WHOLE lot of “not allowed” – but now you’re telling me that even things that are labeled “kosher” I should refrain? Who am I, Gandhi or something? This upset me greatly and I never liked this attitude. I understood that these were men who lived a few hundred years ago who led simpler lives, but we always learn that we live IN the world, and not on some mountain top in Tibet. That is exactly why we have KOSHER ice cream so we can enjoy the pleasures of the world but in a way that’s allowed according to Torah.

Well, I’m happy to say I’m no longer 13.

Recently, I decided to research this concept, so I’d like to thank my Dad who found me numerous places where this concept is discussed. One place is the Hayom Yom. The Hayom Yom for the 25th of Adar Sheini tells of a disciple who came to learn from the Alter Rebbe. He said that the first concept he ever learned was the following:

“What is forbidden is forbidden and what is permitted is unnecessary.”

He goes on to say that they studied this concept until it was drilled into their systems and only then could they go on a path of service to G-d.

This year, as I get ready for Chanukah (along with the rest of you) I recalled my post last year about 8 Tips for a Healthy Chanukah . One of the items in that post is about the dangers (yes DANGERS) of giving 8 gifts, one for every night of Chanukah. I’m aware that many parents don’t give presents at all (which is cool) but the more I thought about this 8 gifts concept, the more I realized that not only is it a warped tradition but it really is an unhealthy attitude to teach our next generation. (feel free to read last years post for more details).

Just because you Can Doesn’t Mean You Should.

This extends to more than just Chanukah gifts. This is a year round concept that we as Americans need to learn. We live in a society of abundance (and for those of us who don’t have, try to emulate that abundance through Credit Card debt Sad smile) Abundance is a beautiful thing… it means we can do more, give more, and celebrate more, but we mustn’t forget to teach our kids the work that came BEFORE the abundance.

Very often I see families who give their kids EVERYTHING they need and EVERYTHING they want. (big difference) I believe I’ve blogged about this before.

Raise your hand if you know a 3 year old kid who has a favorite flavor sushi ? Or a young child who already has a “usual” at Starbucks?

Just because you CAN – just because you may have the money, or the resources, – doesn’t mean you should – doesn’t mean that you should be showering your kids (or loved ones) with lavish clothes and bedrooms and every new toy on the shelf.

So I’m no longer 13. I finally see the wisdom behind: “What is forbidden is forbidden and what is permitted is unnecessary” – As we thank G-d that we don’t live on a mountain in Tibet but in the Abundant America,  – we also need to remember that it’s all about balance and responsibility. About leading a spiritually driven life, and not just accumulating “stuff” (I’m sure you’ve heard of George Carlin’s famous “Stuff” Routine). So yes, I’ll be buying my Chanukah gifts for my loved ones (and hopefully I’ll be receiving some too!) but I will try my best to see beyond the gift wrapping and fancy packaging. I’ll try to see and feel the intentions of the giver and therefore really appreciate the presents.

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Its Not Too Late to Enter the Annual Chanukah Giveaway!

Click Here for Details

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Want More? Check out some past Chanukah related Dubyisms

A Jewish Girl Who Loves Christmas

Minimalism in a Present Filled World 

Pyromaniacs Favorite Holiday

 

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Spiritual Health

 

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Which Thanksgiving Jew Are You?

I wrote this post last year for my friend’s blog Frum Satire. So I thought I’d recycle it and allow my 5 Pillars readers to enjoy it as well.

Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!!! Gobble Gobble …

(stay tuned next week for our annual CHANUKAH GIVEAWAY!!!!!!)

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stuffingAhh Thanksgiving….. such a warm and fuzzy time of year. The day we stuff our faces, wear stretchy pants and eat doubles and thirds even after the buttons on our shirt have popped open. Sukkos and Pesach have nothing on Thanksgiving. The day screams “Eat!”

While Thanksgiving is every Chef’s (and mom’s) dream holiday – amongst us Jewish people, Thanksgiving is also the most controversial of Holidays. It’s the whole “Do you Celebrate Thanksgiving?” discussion.

I have found 5 types of Thanksgiving Jews:

Category A: They celebrate Thanksgiving with a big Turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. They invite friends or family, eating to their hearts content. Having experienced Yom Tov all their lives, Thanksgiving is a breeze! These moms can whip up this fancy meal better than any other secular American – because these Yiddishe Mamas KNOW HOW TO COOK! Thanksgiving is never a day of stress like all the magazines talk about – but it’s day of fun. There is no Shul to get to on time, no shopping for “Thanksgiving outfits,” no sheitels to have styled, or Shabbos makeup to worry about, and the most important: no showers before the 18 minutes! It’s a holiday without the Yom Tov 🙂

Category B: These people don’t really celebrate on the actual Thursday of Thanksgiving but make a “Thanksgiving Style Shabbos” – (well Turkeys ARE on sale! ) For Friday night they’ll serve a turkey with some pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes and pair it with the traditional gefilte fish and chicken soup. These people think Thanksgiving has a nice story, comes with lots of delicious recipes – but consider it a little ‘pas’t nisht’ for frumme yidden to celebrate and would be considered “chukas ha’goyim.” Therefore these guys do their little thing on Shabbos instead. This also pacifies their American friends who think they’re elitist Frum Jews, and also calms the ultra frum parents who shudder at the thought that their child is taking part in American culture.

Category C: If you haven’t figured this one out yet – these are the people that refuse to have anything to do with Thanksgiving and see it as any other “goyishe” holiday, such as Christmas or Easter and will take no part in it. With a turned up nose – they wouldn’t dare buy a turkey (since it might be seen as a ‘holiday’ turkey – and would be maaras ayin). The truth is this attitude doesn’t really stem from arrogance but more of a religious thing. These people truly believe that “every day is Thanksgiving.” We must thank HaShem EVERY DAY for what we have and dedicating only ONE day to be coined Thanksgiving belittles the concept entirely. Therefore, shunning the ideology behind Thanksgiving, these guys feel it shouldn’t be celebrated at all.

You will find a similar attitude with American holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Since “Every day is Mother’s Day” then the ONE day in May shouldn’t be looked upon as any differently.

True Story: I have a grandmother who actually yelled at me for calling her on Mother’s day – and after giving me the speech that we don’t celebrate Mother’s Day, being the good little granddaughter that I am, I listen to her and no longer call her for Mom’s day (or any other day 🙂 )

But getting back to the topic – Thanksgiving.

Then you have Category D: The people who don’t really know what Thanksgiving is to begin with! These are the people (bless their ultra- orthodox hearts – you gotta love them!) – they poshut don’t know what a Pumpkin is – and when they see one, they automatically think it’s something to be used only for Halloween and therefore shouldn’t be allowed NEAR their children. This pumpkin must never be brought into their homes lest it may corrupt their kids’ chinuch. It’s actually a little funny and sad at the same time.

Category E: Then we have the Vegans. The vegan people are Category E – yes –frum or not frum – these guys belong in a category all on their own 🙂

Veganism is becoming more and more popular in todays over processed, over sugared and over medicated American Society. However, I know this may come as a shock to you all, but Thanksgiving and Veganism just does not work! Tofurkey?! …I’ll repeat that — TOFURKEY?! It’s pure blasphemy! In my opinion, if you want to be healthy and/or stay away from the meat – then why try to pretend with tofu? We all know it’s just a lump of soy tofu mush – so who are we fooling?

And that pretty much sums up my analysis of Jews and Thanksgiving. On a slightly serious note, (just a slight one 🙂 ) I think it’s time we all realize what the day of Thanksgiving is truly about. The point of Thanksgiving is a day to recognize and acknowledge that which HaShem has given us – this beautiful and plentiful country of America. A country that allows us to be as frum (or not) as we wish. A country that allows us to vent and bitch as we wish and a country that allows us to wear our peyos as long as we want. Our ancestors would never be able to say the same thing – and for that – there’s nothing “past nisht” about having a meal to acknowledge this gift. (now, if we can only not get ourselves blown up by those darn terrorists 🙂 :))

So I say – enjoy the mashed potatoes, the pumpkin pie and Give Thanks to the greatest country!

Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!D96B04_3

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Misc. Ramblings

 

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Spiritual Health: 5 Ways to Bottle Up the High Holidays

copy-create-your-best-year-ever1

During the summer, I was chatting with a friend of mine. While he is no longer religious – he told me that when he was looking at the calendar to make his schedule, he saw that Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur were coming up and instinctively he got chills about the upcoming days of awe.

This friend of mine was raised in a very different kind of community than I was – a lot stricter – and people in his community view the high holidays through a lens of fear and trepidation. Nonetheless I thought it was pretty cool that even though this man didn’t go to Shul or pray – he still felt the awesomeness of this time of year.

Well, we are back to the daily grind. Back to school, back to work – back to exercise and normal meals (thank G-d!) … but before the month of Tishrei becomes a thing too much in the past, I wanted to go over a few ideas of how to take the inspiration with us.

The whole point of this month is to wipe the slates clean, start fresh and begin anew. We apologize for our past misdeeds – and once we do the hard work we then celebrate with joy and elation the holiday of Sukkos and SImchas Torah. We know that we have done all we can – that this will indeed be an incredible year, and we have faith that G-d will do his part as well. And so we dance!

How do we bottle up the holiness and joy we felt during his month and take it with us throughout the year?

In my opinion, in order to capitalize on the energy we need to look at the month slightly differently.

Just as I stated before, we usually look at the holidays exactly as they are.

Rosh HsShana: we crown G-d as our king

Yom Kippur: we atone for our sins, and G-d seals our fate for the upcoming year

Sukkos: a time of joy and celebration

And Simchas Torah: we celebrate the Torah – the foundation of the Jewish people’s lives.

Simple enough right?

Except there’s one thing missing.

Very often we talk that Yom Kippur we cry and we fast and we beg forgiveness. But not a minute after Yom Kippur ends – we’re already “accidentally” sinning again. Whatever it may be … maybe we didn’t make a blessing on the food… we’re back to “screw up ville” back to square one.

Time to Tap Into Our Potential!

So I think, instead of looking at Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur as days of forgiveness and wiping the slate clean and promising to do better in the future, I think we need to see it as a time to realize our potential. We are incredible people. As humans we have the power to do miraculous things. One little person – with a little passion – and a little ambition – (and creativity) we can move mountains! But what happens – we come to Yom Kippur and we realize we’re nothing but a screw up. We “effed” up in not so pretty language.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman at Chabad.org gave a beautiful sermon how the whole repentance thing is way too depressing for our generation. It’s too easy to get depressed by our shortcomings. This is brilliant!

Instead of repenting or atoning, or whatever fancy shmancy word you want to use – instead – let’s look inside of ourselves and realize that there is so much untapped potential – that needs tapping! (who wouldn’t want to tap that?
🙂

Doesn’t that sound a lot more fun and joyful than the depressing thought of repentance?!

So when we stood before G-d with our fate in His hands – we should be overjoyed and excited and incredibly moved that here we have a NEW year upon us… a NEW opportunity… a BRAND new chance to utilize our awesome talents…. Our beautiful G-d given talents and our own personal brilliance to make a difference. Whatever that means to each of us individually…. But we now get to say:

“From this point on, I’m gonna ROCK the Shiznit!” (yes, Shiznit is a word). And start the new year believing that this year is going to be different. This year is going to be better. And this year is going to be THE year.

Soooo…

With this attitude – the attitude that we are going to be the “best possibly me” – we can look at how to practically bring that inspiration into our day to day lives.

1) My Favorite Thing to Do – you guessed it: MAKE A FREAKIN LIST!!!! Decide: What do I want to be better at this year? What do I want to do this year? What do I want to change? It can be 2 things. Or it can be one thing. It can be a goal, or an activity, something you want to start (or stop) doing. Something maybe that’s holding you back from being the Best That You Can Be. – write it down!

2) Meditate: I know – you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about meditation. But the fact is that Yom Tov ends – and we are thrown back into our lives. The 9-5 workday, the screaming kids, the overcrowded schedules. It’s too easy to forget what we felt on Yom Tov – and how we wanted THIS year to be better. By meditating on our goals and aspirations and our “List” – it helps to bring us back and center us what we want to accomplish.

3) Take a Little Time to Talk To G-d. I was considering putting this as the same thing as meditating, but I really feel its 2 separate things. When we meditate, it’s internally. Its focusing in what’s going on inside (and yes, G-d is there too) – however, with prayer – it’s a vocalized externally. We are talking outwardly to G-d… and continuing that connection we felt so tangibly during all those days of Yom Tov.

4) Pick a Friend. Sounds easy right? In order to be the better you – you need the right kind of friend who will bring out the best in you and build you up. There is a girl I know, she is much younger than me (she was actually my camper at one point) in recent years, whenever I chance a conversation with her she has this knack of inspiring me about my projects that I just want to jump in get working!!! I can’t explain what it is about this one girl, but every time I speak to her she encourages me in my work and makes me feel so enthusiastic about it all.

While there are many types of friendships, in order to accomplish your goal you want to make sure you’re surrounded by the right kind of people.

5) Monthly Assessment Meeting. To bring the inspiration of Tishrei into our day to day lives, nothing says practicality more than the accountability of a monthly meeting. Looking back on “where am I holding?” and “what do I want to focus on in the coming month?”

 

Do you have any tips of ways to keep an inspirational feeling last? I would love to hear YOUR ideas!!!!

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Spiritual Health

 

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