Elul Week 3

Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, September 1, 2023 / 15 Elul 5783

Summary: As the month of Elul begins, the focus of these Oasis Songs will be on High Holiday themes, barring some earth-shaking event. This year, I am grateful to partner with Debbie Plawner, who has been creating a deck of cards inspired by, in her words, “the infinite light of Torah.” Her Elul cards support the spiritual preparation we undertake in the month leading up to our Yamim Noraim, our Days of Awe. To learn more, please reach out to Debbie at dplawner@gmail.com.

The graphics from her cards will be my Oasis Elul headers, below which I share reflections based on the card of the week.

Reading Time: One and a half minutes

Love is in the Air

It was during a family vacation to some long-forgotten destination—could have been the Poconos. Maybe I was five. There was a kid’s pool and a much larger pool for the grown ups, where my older siblings were swimming. I must have looked bored or lonely when an eight year old girl with a toy submarine befriended me. It was yellow painted metal with geared wheels, so when you pushed it, the four-sided periscope on top rotated. Too many years have passed to know how long we played, yet I can recall how happy she made me. When it was time to go, she gifted me that submarine, which brought me a ridiculous amount of joy, for it was imbued with the kindness of strangers. All I know is that I held on to that submarine for years; it was last seen in my father’s tool shed before it finally disappeared.

This vignette is almost not a story, for its sole moment of dramatic conflict is a young boy’s loneliness. Simultaneously, it is infused with chesed, with a small, life-changing act of kindness. The world is sustained by such moments; often we are unaware of the lasting impact our minute loving deeds can have on another, yet when we are the recipients, our lives are illuminated with luminosity.

Elul invites us, of course, to be the agents of loving-kindness; equally significant is attuning ourselves to notice how we are the recipients of God’s love, which endlessly streams into creation, touching even the pool decking of a middle class vacation resort, evaporating our loneliness.

What was your equivalent moment?

Shabbat Shalom,

Rav D

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