Renewal of the Soul

During taschlich, the ducks are floating,

and quietly quacking in nasal dissonance.

Yet, the scene is tranquil overall.

—– —– —–

At some point,

most of the ducks have gone elsewhere…

the only sign of their presence, a ripple of water,

concentric circles moving out from the center,

where bubbles are rising to the surface

from below the otherwise still pond.

—– —– —–

Natural submersibles,

these humble creatures of G-d are content,

diving for their sustenance in the niche,

wherein they have been placed.

—– —– —–

Unlike many of us humans,

constantly searching for

something beyond our boundaries,

whether self-imposed,

like a box of our own construction,

or the existential limitations

that we are all faced with,

throughout our journey.

—– —– —–

Symbolically, our sins are cast

into the pond today, a reminder

of the promise of forgiveness,

that we may be renewed in the moment,

even as we make that first effort

to seek renewal of the soul,

at the beginning of the year.

Sweetness of the Soul

Prepare mind and heart,

bring awareness to center;

stillness in the soul.

As Rosh HaShannah approaches, preparations abound, beginning with the inner focus – searching the soul. This search began thirty days prior, with the sounding of the shofar every morning, awakening the soul to the awesome approach of the King.

The task at hand is to condition the mind to root out evil and sin. For those like myself, ba’al teshuvah, who were not raised observant, nor had the values of Torah inculcated in them, since an early age, the continual “pulling out of weeds,” if left to grow, would only cause the soul to become entangled in gashmiyos again. G-d forbid.

haibun: A Sweet Beginning

apples and honey,
sweeten the New Year’s advent;
Rosh HaShannah bliss.

As Rosh HaShannah, the New Year on the Hebrew calendar approaches, I prepare my soul, so that I might be able to stand before the King on Judgment Day. Selichos (the penitential prayers) have already begun; these prayers will continue, until the eve of the Day of Judgment, when all the world is judged, and decrees are made for the New Year. Yet, charity, prayer, and repentance have the effect of lessening the severity of any negative decrees placed upon us.

The two days of Rosh HaShannah are said, according to the Zohar, to symbolically represent a day of judgment, and a day of mercy, resting upon G-d’s attributes of both justice and mercy. Because the world could not survive upon being judged without mercy. Justice alone would bring harsh condemnation upon all the earth, for no one is able to sincerely live 100% by G-d’s standard; everyone falls short of the mark to varying degrees, because of our “human nature,” as some say, inherited by Adam and Eve, who disobeyed G-d, even while living in Gan Eden (Paradise). So, mercy has a sweetening effect upon our judgment, so that we can be reconciled to G-d.