These are days set aside for thoughtful contemplation. “Ayekah?” The question that Adam was asked by Hashem as he was hiding under a bush, ashamed and frightened, echoes till today. We are all Adam.
Ayekah? Where am I? What is my life all about? What do my relationships look like? Am I connected to my family, my community, my G-d? Have I grown this past year? How is this world better because I exist? When I ask Hashem for the gift of life, what does that life look like?
“Lo amus ki echyeh – I will not die, but I will live,” Dovid HaMelech gives us the words in Tehilim. But if we do not die, than surely we are alive? Not necessarily. Some live a life that is stale and empty. Devoid of purpose and meaning, filled with emptiness or distanced from living with love and connection, it is the life of the ‘walking dead.’
As we set aside time to ponder, let us ask not only for quantity of our years but quality of our days. Especially when it comes to our spiritual lives which we often overlook.
Sometimes it takes a child to nudge us out of our complacency and awaken our soul.
I received an email that I’d like to share with you, dear readers. I believe that these words speak to us all, especially during these days of serious introspection.
“Today is the sixth yahrzeit of my daughter, Kayla, of blessed memory, who was diagnosed at the age of fourteen with a rare and aggressive cancer. As a little girl, Kayla loved to make everyone laugh and was always dancing. After she was diagnosed, she always carried herself with the knowledge that she was a special daughter of Hashem…she always thanked everyone with whom she had contact, even wishing the doorman at the lab to have a nice day. She never lost her faith, and when she found out that there was nothing more the doctors could do, she said, ‘If Hashem wants to take me, He can take me, but I think I want just one more Shabbos.”
A young girl’s final plea. Just one more Shabbos here on earth before she leaves this world.
And we? We who can bring Shabbos in each week with ease. We who have the opportunity to bring the light of Shabbos into our homes, to welcome the malachei shalom to our tables, to bless our children and plug into the menucha that Shabbos brings – how do we welcome the Shabbos Malka?
Do we anticipate with joy? Do we rush into Shabbos with chaos and commotion? Do we plug into the day that is the ‘os,’ the sign, of our everlasting bond with our Creator?
So many children and even adults have complained to me about feeling bored, what a long day, what am I supposed to do with all the hours? Or I hear about being sent from the table in anger, eruptions of tension, too much alcohol, or sleeping though the day.
It is up to us now to seriously consider our love for the mitzvos that defines who we are as a people. It is not simply about me. Each one of us touches the next generation in our own unique way. What do you love, what are you passionate about? Because that becomes their love and their passion.
Let us use these days to live higher, to be better. Let us not take the gifts that we have been given for granted.
Wishing you a k’sivah v’chasima tova.