As I pointed out in a previous post, the Hebrew month of Elul is upon is. Elul is the temporal highway that leads into the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah.

#BlogElul, curated by my colleague, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, is an opportunity to celebrate the spiritual work that Elul invites. I won’t hit every one of #BlogElul’s topics, but will try to chime in when able. Hence…

Schlepping a Grill through the Old City of Jerusalem, 2015
Schlepping a Grill through the Old City of Jerusalem, 2015

We #prepare for things great and small alike. Great things like, say, the end of the world, financial ruin, or happier examples like buying a new home, marrying off our children. Small things like, say, dinner. We all do it. We all #prepare. But there’s something that’s often overlooked when it comes to preparing. If you #prepare then you are, by definition, an optimist.

Optimism is an essential attribute of anyone who finds him or herself regularly preparing. How so? Because the phenomenon of #preparing implicitly assumes that our actions have meaning. When we #prepare for something we are affirming our sense of personal power and our belief that we can impact the future. Even if we are preparing for something disastrous (real or imagined) there’s a tinge of optimism in our belief that our preparation can ease some future pain or misery. Whether we typically consider our cups to be half full or not, if we #prepare our actions clearly demonstrate our optimism and our belief in the efficacy of human action– whether we like it or not. Think of the most dour, pessimistic, fatalistic person you know– next time you catch them preparing something, try this idea out and watch them squirm.


#Prepare– Blog Elul 2015, Day 1
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