Chesbon Nefesh

The fact that we celebrate holydays by the Hebrew calendar is an interesting phenomena. By connecting ourselves to two different methods of keeping time, it makes our relationship with time very unique. Our two different timetables send a message that our bodies operate on the American/Gregorian calendar, however, our souls operate in a different sphere of time. A sphere of time that is captured through our connection to a calendar that is not our daily one.

Each Elul (the month we now find ourselves in) we are asked to do Cheshbon Nefesh. Nefesh is the Hebrew word for soul and Cheshbon is the Hebrew word for accounting, or in modern Hebrew, receipt. Therefore, leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we are asked to create a soul receipt. The Hebrew calendar reminds us each year that it is time to do a reflective accounting of where are soul is and where we would like it to be. Elul is the marker for us to begin the reflective process of Teshuvah, repentance.

With that in mind I would like to share a resource I have recently signed up for called Jewels of Elul. It is a daily affirmation, or reading, that allows me to look at myself and reflect. Each day I receive a different reading. Rather than share them all I will share one from this week from the Dalai Lama. If you like it I encourage you to check out their website:

Compassion by His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama

Genuine compassion is irrespective of others' attitudes toward you. But, so long as others are also just like myself, and want happiness, do not want suffering, and also have the right to overcome suffering, on that basis, you develop some kind of sense of concern. That is genuine compassion. Now unbiased, even toward your enemy; so long as that enemy is also a human being, or other form of sentient being. They also have the right to overcome suffering. So, on that basis, there is your sense of concern. This is compassion.

If these quotes do not work for you then I encourage you to find a different way to start compiling your chesbon nefesh. Wishing you all a sweet Shabbat.