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“Enoughness” is enough at this time of the year



“Enoughness.” Thanks to Brené Brown and others, we have a term for feeling inadequate. If only I could do more, achieve more, have this or be that, then I would be enough.

The self-reflection incumbent upon us as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur draw close doesn’t help. This is the time of year to consider our deeds, thoughts, and actions, to reflect on our mistakes, and identify areas for development. In all the striving for growth, are we enough? Is it ever enough?

After Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Knowledge in the garden of Eden, now feeling shame and hiding from G-d, G-d calls out to Adam, “Ayeka?” (Where are you?) Of course, there was no need for G-d to ask this question, G-d is all knowing and all-seeing. Many commentators point out that with this question, G-d was asking Adam, “Where are you in your head and heart?”

It’s a lesson many of us have learned, and a question we should be asking regularly. Where am I? What am I about? What do I value? Do my actions reflect those values? Where can I grow? What work should I be doing – on myself and the world?

Rabbi David Fohrman brings a different perspective to this question. Using the text to support his suggestion, he reads “Ayeka” as a cry from a G-d who only wants to connect with His man, His divine partner, asking, “Where are you man? I want to be close to you. I want to connect with you, my partner in creation. Eating from the tree drew you away from me, but what is a partnership without two parties? I miss you. Where are you? Come back to me.”

It changes everything if we see G-d as constantly reaching out to connect with us, to be close to us, not giving us loads of laws that can trip us up and for which the scales of justice mete out reward and punishment.

We use physical tools to make us more effective human beings – clothes that allow us to be outside even in less-than-perfect weather, or using a fork to eat with dignity. We use mental tools to be more effective thinkers – reading to broaden our view, or dialogue to help us understand complexity.

So, too, do we need spiritual tools to help us to be more effective spiritually. The reward isn’t as immediate, so often we aren’t as good at making use of them. But we were given 613 tools (that should cover it, right?) and any one of them can facilitate being a more effective soul on earth. It would be a pity not to use them. And if the 613 seem a little too much, there is a shortcut trio we can use at this time of year – teshuva, tefillah, tzedakah – repentance, prayer, and charity.

These mitzvot are tools for us to be our best selves (the 21st century mantra), and to help us find our way back to the divine partnership. Why engage in this divine partnership at all? Because never mind finishing your to-do list, or being just a bit more that and a bit more this. Being close to the source of all good things, to the source of blessing and belonging, will most certainly feel like enough – more than enough.

  • Word-lover, avid reader, spiritual-seeker, Torah teacher, publisher-author, crazy crafter, mom of three – Batya Bricker also happens to be GM books and brand for Exclusive Books.

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