By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
I am frustrated! I have been going back and forth about what to blog about this week. I read the papers and get upset that there is not more good news. If an alien came down and listened to the news, the only impression is that things and people are in almost total disarray, yet, my experience is opposite of this impression. I realize that my back and forth is partially caused by the time of year that it is.
On Wednesday of next week, we begin the month of Elul in the Hebrew Calendar. This is the month before Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, it is the time in our Holy Tradition where we do a Chesbon HaNefesh, an accounting of our soul. It is the time when we have to do T’Shuvah with those we have harmed and whom we have not made T’Shuvah with yet. I am looking at my own actions in this past year and the actions of the world and feeling a little adrift. What have I done that I haven't repaired and what good have I brought into the world this past year? What "good news" have I spread and how am I stuck in reporting only negativity?
Of course, two of the hot topics are Filner and Weiner. These two men have raped the trust of those who believed in them and, seemingly, don't realize this fact. I believe they are addicts (no surprise) and their addiction is to arrogance, not just sex. I find myself thinking about my own arrogance, as well. I have been arrogant, as our confessional talks about, by not valuing my own worth enough and, at times, valuing my worth too much. I have a problem with anger at times and I realize that my anger and my arrogance, as I have defined it above, are very related.
I apologize to everyone for both my anger and my arrogance. When I value my worth too much, I am unable to see the value and worth of another and this is a BIG wound! In fact, in those times, I am guilty of objectifying everyone else, which is a Bigger wound!! Then I get angry, loud and "nuke with my words" everyone who is around me. The fallout from my anger is tremendous and I am sorry for this. Oy, I am so guilty and embarrassed. Yet, seeing this fact is freeing me from the need to act in these ways. This past July 4th, I took 4 days off and went away with one of my friends and guides, Jon Esformes because I had an outburst and knew that I couldn't keep going on like this. We spent the weekend talking about ways to stop the anger and arrogance from building up to the boiling point.
So far, it has worked. I follow the example of Moses and Aaron in our Holy Torah, I put my head down and I take deep breaths. I have been able to just explain what is going on and not need to pollute the experience and people around with my toxic anger. Even after being in the process and living T’Shuvah for the past 25 years, I keep learning, uncovering and discovering areas that need growth and solutions to old and new issues. I am so grateful and sorry. Sorry to everyone who has felt violated by my anger and arrogance and grateful to and for the people who confront me and help me with solutions for T’Shuvah and ongoing change.
As we begin this journey again to Yom Kippur, the Day of At-One-Ment with God, our communities and ourselves, I ask you to engage in your own Chesbon HaNefesh.
Beit T’Shuvah has, for those of you who want an outline on how to do this, High Holiday Repair Kits. Please call Ali or Lexy at 310-204-5200 to order yours.