High Holy Days Journey with Amichai Lau-Lavie: 40 ways in 40 days to find your focus



It is now one week before Rosh Ha’Shanna, seven days to 5771. The heat is on. Increased traffic in noticed on Jewish cooking sites and High Holidays ticket sales are in full volume.

Are you ready?

We’ve been prepenting here for over three weeks. Now its time for the final touches.


One of the musts of the season is saying sorry to whoever we’ve hurt. Including ourselves.


The blacklist we worked on last week had in it those with whom we’ve been having unfinished business this past year – on any level, for whatever reason – but that we’d like to settle, get off our chest, plate, consciousness, mind. Some of us have done some work on that – writing emails, making phone calls, arranging for uncomfortable meetings and hopefully – reconcile or make peace. (this goes to the summit talks in DC today! Can both Netanyahu and Abbas REALLY express the sorrow and sorry and try and resolve?? Slicha in Hebrew is so close to Sulcha in Arabic – same word, same pain, same hope. )


The ‘I’m sorry’ exercise is in this department.  With perhaps less grander visions than peace in the Middle East. Start at home.


Who do I need to apologize for?


And what do I need to apologize to myself for?


Surely this reflective act deserves a few moments of heart and mind focus.


In Hebrew this is called ‘Slichot’ the word ‘forgiveness’. Slichot is the general name for a genre of atonement prayers reserved for this season. Sephardic Jews have been singing them since this 40 day count began. Ashkenazim begin this coming Saturday Night. Both take the time this week to review the lists, swallow hard, and say I’m sorry where and when necessary.

Start with self.


And I want to take this public opportunity to say to whoever is reading, including friends and relatives who’ve been reading and commenting  – here’s a sincere, general I’m SORRY if I’ve done anything to harm, upset, disappoint or hurt you.

I went through my list and I THINK I’m covered. But if I’m not – and you think I have something to apologize for – PLEASE: If you see something, say something.


And, now I’ll turn to start again, with saying sorry to myself, for all the ways I did fewer gods than I should or more wrong than I ought to, in the service of self-love.

Day 22 8.31 LIGHTS OUT
Day 24 9.2 SEND A WISH