Rabbis Without Borders
Rabbis Without Borders is a dynamic forum for exploring contemporary issues in the Jewish world and beyond. Written by rabbis of different denominations, viewpoints, and parts of the country, Rabbis Without Borders is a project of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
What question will guide your New Year’s resolutions this year? What will be the focus of your self-improvement plan?
Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to imagine you have a key question.
Maybe you’ve had years when you didn’t really plan anything at all, but wandered from experience to experience, thought to thought, feeling to feeling. Years when your guiding question was: What am I curious about?
Maybe one year you got tired of wandering, and sought some more structure. And your new guiding question was: What accomplishments ground a stable and satisfying life?
And maybe, having made some choices, developed some skills, and created some commitments, you were pleased with your success. And you asked yourself: How can I be better at my responsibilities?
And maybe you became so good at them, so excited about them, so involved with them, that they took over your life, and you found yourself exhausted. And in that year, you wondered: How can I be healthier?
And maybe while becoming healthier you received many gifts of support and insight. You found yourself wanting to give as you received. And, in that year, you asked: How can I love better?
And maybe – not in any linear developmental order but just when it happened – things went terribly wrong in accomplishment, in health or in love. The old plans cracked. And that year, you asked: What makes life meaningful?
And maybe, in the pursuit of meaning, you found that there were still empty places inside you. Places that no project, no relationship, no feeling of well-being could fill. You yearned for something greater than your self, bigger than your pursuits. And you asked yourself: How can I feel God at the center? Or at the edges? Or throughout everything?
And maybe, burning with the fire of human longing and divine inspiration, you asked: How can I make the world a better place?
And maybe, in your reaching out to others, you moved out of your comfort zone, far beyond your known world. You discovered new dimensions of self, other, and society. Stimulated, you asked yourself: What am I curious about?
All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. (Ecclesiastes-Kohelet 1:7)
Photo credit: Sir John Betjeman wondering at Saint Pancras Station Roof
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