Friday, September 2, 2011

Blogging Elul 5771: Finding full humanity

Today's blog is by Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, a colleague in the UK, and one of the Rabbis of the West London Synagogue of British Jews - the founding synagogue of Reform Judaism in the UK.  She is a regular on 'Pause for Thought' - a  faith-based message featured on BBC Radio 2.  Follow Rabbi Young-Somers blog here.
In large part Ellul is here to give us time to consider our relationships with each other and heal them, so that we might more fully return to ourselves and to God on Yom Kippur. Sometimes this may mean making a direct approach to someone and acknowledging that what you said or did was wrong and/or caused pain and apologising for this fact. Today, however, purely by chance, I was reminded that sometimes it's also about having very normal day to day exchanges and experiencing and being open to the full humanity contained in them. It was a very small thing really, but one that was the perfect start to a busy day and a busy shabbat. When I don't have time to make challah (special bread for shabbat) I tend to end up buying it in our local Arabic shop Solomon's, which picks up 2 boxes of challot, bagels and rye breads from a kosher bakery in Hendon every Friday. During the last month I've apologised to them for buying such good smelling bread when they are fasting, and they have grinned appreciatively. This morning I asked how Eid had been for them, and at the end of the conversation, the sales man wished me Shabbat Shalom. Of course this isn't going to change the world. But it changes my immediate surroundings, and brings a humanity to what is otherwise a very sensible business venture for them and a wonderful convenience for me. Building slowly slowly on trust between individuals, perhaps we can, step by step, create a sense of comfort and joy in our beautiful differences which are, after all, what make us human and interesting. So while during Ellul we look to improve the relationships that are perhaps more meaningful and long term, we can also take the opportunity to explore those relationships that are more functional, and instil in them human warmth and encounter, building local community, and appreciating our differences. Shabbat Shalom

No comments:

Post a Comment