Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Holding a grudge is like letting someone live Rent-Free in your head!"

I wish I could take credit for the above quote, but it appeared on my Facebook and as we are at the end of the Jewish month of Elul, the month when we forgive and beg forgiveness before the end of our year, I knew that I just had to use the quote.

It is true, you know, holding a grudge IS like letting someone live in your head rent-free. The more we hold onto the negatives in life, the more we worry about them, and the more we worry, the more we are pre-occupied. With the negative.

Last week, I mentioned to a friend of mine who happens to own the absolutely best Kosher burger and hot dog place on earth (Jeff's Gourmet Sausage Factory) that I thought that he should open a second location; one closer to where I live. That discussion lasted about three seconds, when the manager of the store said to me, "you know, that is one man (Jeff) who really is "Sameach b'Chelko" (happy with his lot). Not only is he a great guy, but he is one lucky man.

Would it not be wonderful if we were all Smeichim b'Chelkeinu, happy with our lots? Would it not be truly wonderful to wake up every day and thank G-d for what we have, and never ask for more? I try, but it isn't always easy. We are trained in this Country to "keep up with the Jones's"; to strive for wealth and possessions; to work as little as we have to for the greatest reward. What we seem to forget, though, is that the greatest reward is just being here, enjoying this wonderful world that G-d has given us.

During the Yom Kippur service, ten times we recite a prayer that is the confessional. Al chet sheh chatanu, for these sins we have sinned. Even for those sins which we have committed unknowingly.

As all of us, often I find myself hurting those for whom I care. For this, I ask each of you whom I have hurt during this past year or in years past to forgive me; I ask you to pardon me and I ask you to atone for me.

I received today a greeting from my good friend Juan Bravo in Huanaco, Peru. It is with great pleasure that I share his thoughts, as they mirror mine. Juan writes: I wish you a Happy New Year; that G-d always grants you wisdom and many successes.

This year, the Jewish people begin the year 5772.

We have survived despite having been slaves for 400 years in Egypt and forty more wandering the wilderness of Sinai; despite the cruelty of the Roman armies who destroyed our Temple; despite the efforts of the soldiers of the Crusades and Inquisitions, Spanish and Portuguese; despite the efforts of Hitler and Stalin and Arafat; despite wars of Arab aggression that continue to seek our extermination and UN Resolutions that are full of hatred. Despite Abbas and Ahmadinijad's missiles that land daily in the playgrounds of Sderot that target our children, we have survived and will continue to survive and thrive.

This week when we go into our Synagogues to welcome the New Year, we pray that we all may enjoy peace and good. We pray that the year 5772 is a good and sweet year.

My family and I wish you a year full of good health, joy, laughter, personal success; sympathy and kindness; a year which is a year of peace for all of us; and for each of us, the opportunity to live and to thrive.

From Sunny Southern California, on the Left Coast, we wish you a Shana Tovah u'Metukah; Ahavah u'Vrachot, Love and Blessings.

--Rabbi Alan Abrams

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