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Elul Reflections: 17 Elul 5780

During Shavuot I read a poem by Stacey Zisook Robinson called “Ten Words” After I read the poem it sat with me for a long time and I have reflected on its challenge and its meaning. She asks at the beginning of the poem:
“What ten words rule you?

Which move you?

Bring you forward and return you?”

And even though this poem was written for Shavuot, I believe that its words have much to inspire us during this time of Elul. As we think about what motivates, lifts and drives us, what excites us, what brings us joy and what deflates and suppresses us I wonder if we can take up a challenge from this poem and try to reflect upon our own personal ten words. If we chose ten words by which we would like to live our lives, ten words which would be central to who we want to be and the life we want to live, what would those words be? What are the ten words that rule and move us?So today, spend some moments with Stacey’s poem and then take a journey to find your ten words.

Ten Words

What ten words rule you?
Which move you?
Bring you forward
and return you?
What ten words
bow you
and bend you
and fill you full?
Which serve you,
or demand that
you serve?

Which call you
to your journey,
to dive inward,
move outward,
and carry you to distant
trackless shores -
a barren wilderness
that is more vast
than sky,
more filled
than stars
and time?

And yet those words,
those ten,
they carry you -
From all that
you know;

Ten words lift you
into a boundless unknown.
bring you to self;
bring you to God.

-- Stacey Zisook Robinson, used with permission

-- Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, Emanuel Synagogue, Woollahra

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