We are entering into the month of Elul, a time of reflection and change. We look inward to find where we might have gone off track, and how we can, once again, align with ourselves, our community, and our world.
In this week’s Torah portion Ki Tetzei, God tells us that we shouldn’t “go back over the grapes of our vineyard” once we have already picked the grapes. Those grapes should go to the widow, the fatherless, and the stranger. We should “always remember that we were strangers in the Land of Egypt.” The Torah doesn’t go on to say whether or not these grapes were picked or how satisfying it was to leave those grapes for those in need.
Rather, the Torah tells us; once we have picked grapes, don’t look twice, and know that abundance comes in leaving some space for connecting with others, and for helping those in need. We may not know when, where or how, but -not- looking back and remembering that we have already had our fill is a good philosophy for how to start anew.
Every year at the High Holy Days, on Rosh Hashanah, we give everyone a bag to fill with non-perishables that we can give out at HaMotzi dinners and also we give some non-perishables to local pantries as well. As you fill your bag, think about the abundance in your life and that filling a bag for someone else will help you start anew as well.
May the New Year be filled with the abundance of giving to those most in need!
Cantor Amy E. Levy