December 20, 2013
The Names We Give Ourselves
By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Hi, my name is Mark and I am an Alcoholic/Criminal in Recovery, a Rabbi, a son, a brother, a father, a husband, a friend, an uncle, a cousin, and a nephew. I am starting this blog in this way because we begin a new Book of the Torah this week, Shemot. This Book is called Exodus in English and the Hebrew, Shemot, translates as Names. This week, as I celebrate my 25th year of Sobriety and Living Well, I am thinking about the names I call myself as well as the names I am called. Not all of the names that I call myself, nor that I am called, are as nice/benign as those mentioned above.
This has got me thinking about names. In the Jewish Tradition, we are taught that there are 3 crowns: the crowns of Priesthood, Royalty and Wealth; yet, the Crown of a Good Name exceeds them all. What name have we made for ourselves? I am in deep contemplation of this question and want to explore it more, so I am going to use some of the above names and some of the not nice names as well.
1) Alcoholic/criminal in Recovery—I/we am a person who strayed far from the path of decency and has returned to life with passion, purpose and staying power. I/we have changed from a me centered life to a we centered life. I/we keep a conscious contact with doing the next right thing and knowing we are imperfect. I/we live a life of transparency and live with paradoxes, no longer hiding from reality.
Jewish Tradition also says we have our given names and the names come from our deeds/actions. This is the name we make for ourselves. I am Addicted to Redemption because I want my name to be, most of all, MENSCH! I'm not there yet, just a work in progress. Please join me in this work!