L’shana Tova

I love this blog. It has become such an extension of myself but lately I feel as if I have been neglecting it the more normal my life becomes. I talked to my mom a bit about this yesterday and she said “you’re not ignoring your writing, you’re living life”. That put a nice spin on the situation. Although I have been super busy living life, I think I can spare a few to jot down some thoughts.

I cannot believe that my one year cancer diagnosis-aversary is just around the corner! Thanksgiving will be here before I know it. Apparently people all across the United States are cooking turkeys and mashed potatoes in my honor! Oh what’s that? It’s actually an established holiday? That’s okay too. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for.

This past weekend my family and I celebrated one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. For those of you Goyim out there, Yom Kippur is the one day a year that our faith asks us to reflect on our wrongdoing from the year before and make an effort to do better the next year. It’s very simple. I would call myself a spiritual person more than a religious person. Although a day of repentance sounds like a huge downer I think it serves a great opportunity to look inward and think about how you can be a slightly better person than you were yesterday.

The rabbi’s sermon involved a story about a woman and a man that did not know each other but attended the same temple. The woman prayed and believed that God had told her to make 12 loaves of challah and leave them in the ark of the synagogue (the ark is more or less a cabinet where the Torah, our “bible” is kept). In an effort to feel more connected to her faith and region she baked 12 loaves of challah as an offering to God and left them in the ark. A man that worked at the synagogue cleaning up after everyone had left was very poor and could not feed his family and prayed to God for a miracle to keep his children’s belly’s full. After praying he opened the ark and found the 12 loaves of bread. The man thought it was a miracle and a sign that God had heard his plea. When the woman returned and saw that the bread was gone she also thought a miracle had occurred. She believed that God took her offering. For years she would bake bread and the man would take the bread. Again, they both thought that God was performing a miracle. Finally, the rabbi realized what was happening and exposed the whole operation to both parties. Both the man and woman were crushed as they realized that it was not actually a miracle. The rabbi then pointed out that although it wasn’t a magic act of God, it was an ongoing act of selfless kindness between two people and that in itself was a miracle.

This story resonated with me on a human level more than a religious level. Over the past year a miracle happened, I was dying and I got better. Advancements in medical science healed my body but it was the collective kindness of others that healed my spirit (which is more than half the battle). I don’t think it was a huge act of God that made me better. It was a community coming together in a multitude of ways to inspire and facilitate healing.

For me personally, I owe the world a great deal of kindness in return for all of the love I have received in my time of need and beyond. In the upcoming year I will try to be more cognizant of the opportunities I have to spread support and love to others. Like any normal human being, I am a flawed person and I will not always say or do the right thing but I will try to pay more attention to the smaller but more significant acts, my “loaf of challah”.