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An Unusual Gift

*Many years ago I received a very unusual gift - a gift I did nothing to deserve.

I never met the giver of this gift. It came anonymously.

The unusual thing about this gift was that it continually changed.

It keeps changing and growing, transforming and unfolding.

With the passing of time, I now know and appreciate this gift much more than when I originally received it.

Sometimes I love it; sometimes I don't. But one thing for sure - I really wish I knew more about the giver. If I could meet the giver - what would I say?

Maybe - "Why did you give this particular gift to me?" or

"What should I do with this gift?" or

"What were you thinking when you gave me this?" or

"Was this gift used in the best possible way?"

What was the unusual gift I received that I did nothing to deserve?

My life.

Who was "The Giver"?

I guess in this lifetime, I'll never know. Every now and then I give "the Giver" names - God, HaKadosh Baruch Hu, Creator of the world, the Infinite. Names help me connect. But I well know they are just names. I will never understand this unfathomable gift. It will remain the mystery of mysteries why I was given this life, precisely at this time and in this place.

We have all received this gift.

The Days of Awe, the days from Rosh HaShanah through Yom Kippur, are a time to reflect on this mysterious, and complicated gift.

If you could thank some "One" for the gift of life, what would you say, how would you feel? Would you be ecstatic? Would you feel guilty? Would you be grateful? Or would you just stand in silent wonderment?

Some mysterious Force gave you your face, the face that keeps changing.

Some mysterious force gave you your personality, which keeps unfolding anew every year. What would you say if you could speak to this Mystery?

Suggestions for Reflection:

  • What are you the most proud of from the last year? What were the best parts? How can you have more of that in the coming year?

  • What were the most challenging parts of the past year? What can you learn from them?

  • Who do you look up to? What is it about this person that you admire? How can you learn and put into practice that skill or quality that they have?

*This teaching is adapted from Rabbi Aryeh Ben David's teaching for Rosh HaShanah this year at Ayeka. Take a look at his work at , for more Torah that invites you to ask yourself Ayeka / Where are you? Where are you in your life right now, and how can you move ahead?

With Love,

Rabbi Moshe

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