Sunday, October 5, 2008


I spent the Sabbath of Teshuvah, of repentance, not in the synagogue listening to a sermon on Teshuvah but rather alongside a country brook. It was a crisp, sunny early autumn day; the leaves were beginning their metamorphosis from deep green to brilliant reds. oranges and yellows. The air was dotted with falling leaves floating onto the marshy ground below, each a piece of the mosaic carpet covering the earth’s awaiting embrace.
We sat together on our meditation bench by the brook. Eyes closed for greater clarity, we listened; ”shema”-listen, pay attention, direct your heart to the subtle and gentle sounds of waters trickling over smoothened stones. The gurgling waters elicited an awareness of the flow of life, its continuity and change, its certain movement forward. A baby’s gurgle came to mind and I readily realized that like the brook, all of life issues forth the fluid of
refreshing nurturance and cleansing sweetness. If we could only heed the gift of flowing water in a brook, perhaps we can begin to turn our hearts to life’s gifts in their totality, the sweeping skies above and the bountiful, boundless earth below.
We are enjoined to return, to experience a homecoming in face of so much alienation and spiritual distance. Sitting among the silent trees, with leaves dancing in the wind accompanied by the music of the brook, I felt at home, at peace, confident in God’s protective promise for the future. Grateful for the gurgle helped guarantee that a home of such beauty and glory will adorn the lives of my children and generations to come.
I did not need the chastisements of rabbi or prophet to understand the need for Teshuvah; the still, soft voice of gentle flowing waters seeped into my soul with the power of their message of the invaluable preciousness of life for which the grateful heart can only thank and praise God, and turn to the purity of soul that is our spiritual identity and destiny.

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