Sucker-punched Much?

Sucker punch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A sucker punch is a punch made without warning, allowing no time for preparation or defense on the part of the recipient. The term is generally reserved for situations where the way in which the punch has been delivered is considered unfair or unethical. In practice, this often includes punches delivered from close-range or behind.

^ For anyone confused by the title.

Reading the most recent blog post on Crossing the Yarden, it was explained to friends and family that our dear friends were at the stages of acceptance.

Wow.

What?

Wait…

I needed time to accept. We all need more time to accept. I have sat on this new information for a few days and I have come to some deep and meaningful and very powerful ideas about who we are and what our purpose here may be.

According to the Jewish calendar we are in the month called Elul. This is the time where all the religious * and maybe even the lesser religious* Jews reflect on the way we behaved the past year and try as best we can to ‘do the right thing’. Perhaps keep more commandments, not gossip, make amends…you get it.

The High Holidays are fast approaching and this is when we beg for mercy and kindness from the Almighty. This is when our fate is decided, who shall live and who shall die. While it seems there are conflicting messages *at least it seems that way to me sometimes* regarding things that are preconditioned and destined to happen even though we were given free will, it had been rehashed year after year as a child by my teachers that we have the power to change our final outcome, be it through prayer or repentance (depending on which teacher was lecturing with raised voices for emphasis of the seriousness and dire situation we all faced as menacing 10-year-olds).

I even remember thinking, Oh Man, is G-d gonna’ punish me because I took Melanie’s pencil off her desk to finish my M*A*S*H list without asking her? (After all, even though Melanie was one of my best friends and would never deny me having the opportunity to find out who my true love would be or whether I was meant to live in a mansion or a shack), I hadn’t asked her permission. That meant I stole it.

I find this very auspicious time of year creepy. Not in like a goth-type Azriel way. Like, how can I recount all the bad things I did and try to make up for it. More importantly, now, modern medicine has reached its pinnacle and there is nothing left of what our smart scientists and doctors have created in order to save our friend from cancer.

And this is what I came up with.

Though I may not be as smart as the Rabbis I work for there is one thing I learned in all my years of Jewish education, and that is, that there is a G-d. One who is merciful, and abundant in kindness (so even if we are bad, He’ll tip the scales in our favor). Even if we sin intentionally He is forgiving because He is slow to anger and gracious even to the undeserving. Even if we are apathetic and careless He is compassionate and never breaks a promise.

So when I read that there was acceptance, It hit me. Of course through many tears, I realized this is what G-d wants from us. He wants to hear how devoted we are, knowing that He is the only One that can help at a certain point in our lives. We look to doctors and lawyers and scientists to figure out all the messy stuff but really? All along we need to remember that even though we give each other Nobel Peace Prizes and become Laureate poets there is nothing more eloquent than honest prayer to G-d, from one’s heart. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing all your efforts were not in vain and we get to live and breathe another day.

So we have our work cut out for us, that’s for sure. We need to stop being so haughty and thinking we control our lives. Yes, if you perform well, you may get the raise and that’s in your control – but whether we live or die? Even the healthiest people sometimes drop dead in the middle of their morning run.

Every morning in organized morning prayer groups the ram’s horn (known in Hebrew as the Shofar) is blown during this month. Loud and clear as a reminder to repent. As a woman I have no obligation to join these groups and private prayer is acceptable so I miss getting this ‘wake up call’. Growing up however, my dad was the guy who did the blowing.

Every morning we were startled awake by the practice version and though it upset me as a child, I sure miss it now. So, I felt like I got sucker-punched – totally blindsided me and I was unprepared and left speechless and seeing stars. This message from our friends couldn’t have been any louder. This is their shofar blowing. We all need to ‘wake up’ and put our faith in the fact that whatever He decides is meant to be. We accept this upon ourselves and hope and pray that not only our dearest friends, but we as well, are worthy of longevity (in Hebrew called Arichas Yamim).

May we all merit passing this test. May we see peace and prosperity, good health and fortune in the days to come.

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