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We Jews are a very special people. We get to look back and reflect not once but twice a year.

During Elul, the last month of the Jewish year prior to Rosh Hashanah, we spiritually prepare for the High Holiday season with reflection and repentance. Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and personal stock-taking, known in Hebrew as cheshbon hanefesh - literally “an accounting of the soul.” Then again when the Gregorian calendar changes on December 31st/January 1st we repeat the season of reflection and repentance. 

Two opportunities to take inventory of our lives, evaluate what went well (what didn't) and consider what we'd do differently. Two opportunities to think about what's missing from our neshamah, our soul. Unlike the pause we take at Shabbat (most welcomed), to stop and consider the people in our lives and how we live day-to-day. 

Personally, I don't like New Years resolutions. I'd rather to look back and assess my year - my time with loved ones, work, volunteer commitments and my personal time. I want to reflect back and feel whole. That doesn't always happen.   

In this day and age of over-commitment it’s far too easy to find ourselves overstimulated and overwhelmed. This year instead of making a list of things we have intentions of following through with but not fulfill ie: resolutions, why not make a shorter list of things to give up in exchange for more happiness?

I repeatedly read that happiness is a choice. It’s a shame that most of us complicate our lives to the point that we can’t see it when it’s in plain sight. 

So how do we reset? Here’s a list of 10 things you can give up in exchange for happiness. (borrowed & tweaked from online)

1. Give up control. Learn to let go, plain and simple. Learn to embrace the new and welcome change. After all, a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

2. Give up caring what other people think of you. Spending time worrying about what others think of you is a waste of energy. It’s impossible to please everyone and once you let go of the need to know what others think of you it's really quite freeing. 

3. Give up trying to please everyone. You’ll naturally attract the people who are supposed to surround you when you are truly being the best version of you that you can be.

4. Let go of insecurity. There is only one version of you. Hold your head up high. Own it. Absolutely stop worrying about it. No one really watches us that closely or cares as much as we think they do.

5. Quit worrying. Worry is investing time and energy into something we don’t want to have happen. Learn to let go and trust.

6. Don’t participate in gossip. Those sharing gossip with you will gossip about you. Choosing to believe personal or sensational facts that have not been confirmed is naive.

7. Give up the past. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all made mistakes. Every experience in life has taught you something or made you stronger.

8. Give up anger. Anger only hurts the person holding onto it. Let it go for good.

9. Give up spending money on what you’d don’t need in effort to buy happiness. We complicate our lives by spending too much money and filling our homes with “things”. Save your money. Exchange “things” for experiences. Less is more.

10. Stop taking everything personally. Most people are too consumed with themselves to really notice what you’re doing. Most people’s reactions have nothing to do with you.

I wish for you to fill your neshamah, be happy and look back and feel whole.


L'shalom and healthy 2020!

Dana, Nathan, Samantha & Tanner


Sun, February 5 2023 14 Sh'vat 5783