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Shanah Tovah: Remove Distraction & Reconnect

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

I am writing this post with a full heart. As you can see, I gave birth to a precious, beautiful girl this summer. Her name is Rachel Nechama (Nechama means comfort in Hebrew). We are humbled and blown away by this tremendous gift from G-d.

Our Sages say that all beginnings are hard and new motherhood has not been an exception to this rule! Please be patient while I get the hang of being a new mommy. I hope to write more often as time goes on!

A quick idea for the upcoming holiday. Rosh Hashanah (“The Head of the Year”) begins the holiday season that lasts through Sukkot. The last day of this holiday season is actually an independent holiday, Shemini Atzeret (“The Eighth Assembly”). In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchas Torah (“Rejoicing of the Torah”) are celebrated on one day, whereas outside of Israel, each holiday has its own day.

What is this holiday, Shemini Atzeret? It is a day that G-d asks us to stay with Him just one more day because it is hard for Him to part with us! Shemini Atzeret culminates the High Holiday period because that is what this time is ultimately about: coming close to Hashem.

However, we can’t come close to Hashem, or anyone for that matter, if we don’t have a good relationship with ourselves first and foremost.

We live in a world of distraction and it is hard to take the time to connect with ourselves in a real way, but it is a necessary step if we are to have meaningful relationships with others and G-d. There is nothing new we need to do to, we just need to remove some of the distractions around us. A little less time watching TV, looking at social media, shopping online… small steps to give ourselves the time and space to reflect and connect.

I bless us all that we use this upcoming holiday season to carve out time for ourselves and our relationship with G-d. We should be blessed with a year of good health, happiness, success, peace, and growth. Shanah Tovah U’Metukah! (A Good & Sweet Year!)

Love, Jenna

Source: Rabbi Gradon, Rosh Yeshivah of Mercaz HaTorah Kollel, Los Angeles

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