How important is spirituality in your life? It’s the big question this time of year. I can’t seem to get this topic off my mind. It must be the natural order of events for me, considering the recent call we made for the community to write letters to the editor about “What being Jewish means to you,” contemplating the meaning of life as an upcoming empty nester, planning my golden years, and recently publishing our annual synagogue issue in preparation for the holidays. Talk about a little spiritual journey. Holy moly!
The dilemma I face is trying to sort through and digest all the insightful input, opinions and general information that is coming my way.
As with most topics, spirituality is a very complex and complicated subject. The only way I have been able to really begin to wrap my mind around it is by trying to generalize the information. According to most of the feedback I have received, Jews generalize themselves as being Jewish by either blood relation, tradition, religious practice or by any combination of all three. More often than not, I come across members of our community that do not believe in G-d at all, or express their own doubt in “what” G-d is.
So, what is spirituality? I asked a few of my friends and the answers were all over the place. From religious practices, a person whose highest priority is to be loving to themselves and others, or even as simply as a person who is kind and in touch with their higher self. The definition per Merriam-Webster is 1: something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church (synagogue) or to a cleric as such 2: clergy 3: sensitivity or attachment to religious values 4: the quality or state of being spiritual.
Personally, for me, Torah is the foundation of my spiritually, and in my many, many, imperfections, I still have faith that G-d has his eye on me and my family.
Not everyone around me is as fortunate to have a strong spiritual identity. Even if your spiritual tank, so-to-speak, is running low, I am confident in the source and where to go to get my tank refilled. But what about those in our community that have no idea and are searching for their spiritual identity?
Which brings me full circle. As the holidays approach and the community makes plans to purchase their high holiday tickets, send invites for break fast and get their favorite outfit dry cleaned, I worry just how many in our community are spiritually empty or even lost. I believe it’s important at this time of year, to encourage one another to strive to be balanced, healthy human beings. I am not a doctor, nor an expert, although it has always been my understanding that this includes a need to pay attention to your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
As you prepare for the holidays, I encourage you to take the time and make the effort to fulfill any spiritual emptiness you are feeling. The holidays are a great time to seek and restore yourself. Eat lots of healthy food, discuss and debate important topics with your family, friends and rabbis, and strengthen your mental capacity. (Nothing challenges me more mentally than my family.) And don’t forget to include spirituality, however you may define it, as a part of your overall healthy well-being.