It takes balls, and enough despair, to ask for money in the middle of a very crowded early morning commute subway train – and this guy had both. 7am on the uptown R train seemed way too early for these sort of social interactions – but here he was in front of me, holding a hat, looking me in the eye: ‘got change?’

I did. we smiled, he thanked and moved on, leaving me with a seemingly simple question that is anything but: got change?


Change is often a stressful factor in our life and we often face the other way, hoping it will just vanish. It rarely does. These days it’s looking me in the face, like this guy did.


(I know – I’m once again guilty of taking an innocent phrase from a very specific context and taking it in a different direction. Call it Midrash.) On this twentieth day of a forty days journey towards greater focus, generosity of spirit, more clarity  and positive energy- this beggar/angel shows up to remind me of the core value of this process, these high and holy days: the only constant is change. got it?


Am I ready to change anything at all in my behaviour so that my life is lived better and with more integrity and wholeness? And let’s say that I do ‘get’  the scope of changes that are needed in order to improve  my life and those of the people I love and care for – how do I go about manifesting the kind of change that is sustainable and solid?


The only way to make change happen and last, I think, is by being very specific, goal oriented, and disciplined. Also – baby steps, and peer support.


(My main goal for this PREPENT period, now exactly at half-mark, remains better care of my body – through nutrition, exercise and careful time management. Midterm report? I’m still pescaterian, cultivated a good breakfast routine, cooking often at home, and feeling much better about overall nutrition and wellness. Baby steps and peer support continue to be essential ingredients. I’m not doing  so great on workouts and gym. damm. School hours have been too demanding. Soon I hope to balance better. The over all goal – change how I live so that I can be a better change agent in the world. Nothing less. thanks everyone for helping me do this by reading, responding and cheering on. Hope it’s helpful)


One more specific note on the concept of change: In its most literal sense the ‘change’ that the guy asked about this morning was not a character trait. It was loose change, coins, money, currency, what’s left over from big bills, the coins we use for parking meters and cups of coffee and street charity and piggy banks, or in this case – breakfast. The little things that amount to the big stuff.


What do I do with my loose change? How often do I ignore those in my life who need help? (and with what justifications?)  how can the role of money in my minutia of every day life be treated with more dignity, utmost care, responsibility, kindness?

Tonight’s task: Gather up the loose coins from all over the house and get them ready for daily handout to those for whom it’s no small matter. (save some quartes for laundry)  Or maybe it IS time for a new and improved piggy bank that will gather up resources towards bigger goals of worth?  Your call.


Count your blessings, keep the change.



Rabbi Amichai & Lab/Shul’s annual Elul journey into the new Jewish year with 40 daily communally co-created inspirations to help us begin the year with more focus and presence.

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