The season of teshuva, tzedakah and simcha.
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The Turning Season

 We're not talking about the leaves 

Teshuva and Tzedakah

Charity and acts of kindness are equal to the whole Torah.

— Yalkut Psalms 859

The word Teshuvah is usually translated as repentance, but a better translation is "turn." As in, turn away from the negative, turn towards the positive. Turn the intentions of one's actions, one's thoughts, one's mindset. 

This season began with the High Holy Days which are specifically designated for Teshuvah, when prayer and repentance are more emphasized than at any other time during the cyclical Jewish year. And so, it has been foremost in our minds.

But, the holy days that follow immediately after offer insights and assistance in continuing the process of Teshuvah. Sukkot reminds us of the mitzvah of hospitality, and Simchat Torah reminds us of the power of joy. Our teshuvah, our repentance, is inexorably tied to creating and supporting a loving community.

As the mindfulness of the holy days invigorates our souls, consider the abilities of tzedakah and acts of chesed as paving the way during this season of "turning."

Kabbalah on Teshuva

According to the Kabbalah, Teshuvah is closely linked with the aspect of Shechinah, (the spirit of God). This means that amidst the chaos of our lives, with all the distractions preying upon us, we must open ourselves and the world around us to the Shechinah. The act of imbuing daily activity with an awareness of the Shechinah is the highest level of Teshuvah, recognizing that the spiritual is not found solely within the walls of a synagogue, but in the mundane world where we spend most of our time.


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