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Rabbi's Week in Review - 1/15/2024

01/15/2024 03:15:55 PM

Jan15

After a couple of morning meetings Monday, with the temp at -2 degrees F, it’s cold out there. I am approaching the cold as mind over matter — that if I can get myself to think that it’s not such a big deal, then it won’t be a big deal.  

Part of this thought process is represented in Rabbi Jill Hammer’s The Jewish Book of Days, which we're reading on a regular basis during the weekday-morning service. In the present Jewish month of Shevat, in which we celebrate Tu B’Shevat — aka the birthday of the trees (it’s actually a tax event) — Rabbi Hammer observes that we begin to look forward to spring and a period of greening and growth. It's an attitude of hope and anticipation for the future.

The attitude is laudable, yet we are compelled to confront the present reality of bone-chilling cold for those without the resources to avoid the cold and its dangerous effects. This notion of attitude and positive outlook come out in a variety of challenging circumstances. I’m fond of saying that instilling optimism and hope is part of my job description.  

At the same time, I and we need to be sensitive to others and mindful that for some of us, a positive attitude can be a luxury not everyone can share. I think of TV infomercials in which we’re told that if only we were positive thinkers like the person in the infomercial, we too could change our lives. While we want to live with hope, we always must work to put others in a position where they have reason for hope and optimism.

Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784