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Shoftim: The Beginning Of All Wisdom

Sometimes a quote you read, at a particular point in your life, gets your attention.

I came across this one in preparing for a class. “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”(Aristotle)

We are living in precarious times. COVID-19 has profoundly impacted our lives in 2020 and probably will do in 2021 as well.

But it is not the pandemic alone which has transformed life as we know it. It is the fact that it is accelerating the digital revolution which is most profound.

As homo sapiens we seek to understand the world we inhabit. Uncertainty about the future affects our emotional and mental stability.

How than do we transcend the disorder and confusion? How do we retain our balance and focus in fast changing times?

As Jews we have been gifted with anchors in ‘time’. Although we are part of the change, we can also transcend it.

Our true identity and inherent values are aligned with a divine energy which is not subject to change.

It is pure and innocent. It is content with being true to itself. It is not envious or pretentious. We just have to allow our natural light to shine.

We achieve this by getting to know ourselves better. To carefully examine our behavior and biases. To acknowledge our weaknesses to ourselves and to others.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". But it is the direction that counts.

The world is in a precarious place precisely because it is not aligned with its timeless values.

Today is the first day of the month of Elul when we begin to prepare ourselves and the world for a sweet New Year. Let us today start that journey of reconnecting with ourselves by getting to know ourselves better.


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