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  • Writer's pictureRabbi David Paskin

Back to the Future


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From Rabbi David

These past few weeks, I've been teaching a class to a group of adult learners called "Back to the Future." The idea behind the class was to try and figure out what Teshuvah - repentance/returning is really all about. Is it about re-creating ourselves in the new year? Becoming something we haven't been before? Or is teshuvah about returning to a previous state of being - a more pure and innocent state?

Of course, there are elements of both in the work that we do around these holy days but I am drawn in particular to the idea of re-discovering ourselves rather than re-creating ourselves. Re-discovering means that what we are seeking has been there all along and we'll know it when we find it. It is who we were before we were tarnished by the uglier elements of society. It is the creative, curious, and compassionate younger versions of ourselves before adulthood deadened some of those qualities.

When I do teshuvah I try to imagine myself as Gigi, Asher or Jules; Drew, Eden or Eitan: Full of joy and passion and excitement for what they might become. We adults spend way too much time seeing ourselves as the teachers and our children as the students. At this time of year we are reminded that truly - our children are our teachers. They teach us every day what we need to re-discover in ourselves. This year - take a journey with me - back to the future. Re-discover who you once were and who you desire to be.

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