Monday, August 20, 2012

Know Before Whom You Stand—Elul 2

“Know before whom you stand” (Da lifnei mi atah omed). These words, which one finds near the ark in many ancient and contemporary synagogues, are the words that will guide my reflections this Elul. There are many versions of this sentence in the Jewish tradition, including in the Talmud (B’rachot 28b), and even more interpretations. I want to follow where these words lead me during this month of teshuvah, turning.

Before I throw words at you in the next days, I invite you to muse on these words in silence: Know before whom you stand. Imagine yourself standing before someone who or something that or whatever it is that inspires awe, respect, wonder, and boundless love in you, that makes you aware of all your flaws, makes you long to be better than you have been and be all of who you are, that makes you want to live each moment fully, your whole being singing with gratitude and joy. Someone or something or some experience before which you would bow with dignity?

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