Shabbat Ki Tavo

This past Shabbat, Rabbi Yael Werber asked:

“I’m wondering… where is the celebration for plodding along steadily? For doing the work quietly over time? For showing up over and over? 

“Not just to have the high of the first time, but because you love what you’re doing and because you know what you’re doing is valuable. And because we’re in the month of Elul, I’m also thinking about teshuva, which of course means to return or to come to something again.”

As we move through Elul and come closer to the High Holy Days, this reminder is so important.

Rabbi Werber continued: “Success is not the goal, and teshuva is the continual work of how we walk in the world. It’s continual self-reflection, that Judaism requires us to examine our interactions and our relationships.

“It’s the steadfast showing up, even when it’s not easy or fun. Those are the occasions that we should be celebrating.

“Teshuva itself is the work of many attempts over time. In fact, there might not even be a first time in teshuva work. True teshuva is the act of trying to better ourselves slowly and steadily, getting a little bit closer to our ideal self each time.”

Rabbi Yael Werber delivered this drashah at Kabbalat Shabbat services on Friday, September 1, 2023 / 16 Elul 5783.

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