Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Community

Prepent Day 19: Not Just an Old Carpet

Thursday 9/22/16

Elul 19 5776

Dear Matthew,

Ten years ago, when you moved out of NYC, you gave me a beautiful carpet, for safekeeping and use. One day, you said, you may be back to get it. Well, now you can’t. I’m really sorry. Yesterday, as part of my anti-moth campaign, I finally moved around all the furniture and discovered that the corner of the carpet, tucked away, was eaten up by critters. Off to the trash, all rolled up, it went.

It’s just a carpet and I know you don’t really care for it that much and have moved on to new homes, cares and possessions but I feel badly that my own neglect of what has been given me to enjoy and guard has not been well taken of and ends up as polluted waste.

Maybe I make too much meaning of the daily grind. But this clean up process which I’ve been reflecting on as part of this annual prepent journey to a better me (thank you friends for good advice on this, including checking out the carpets), compels me to find symbolism in the way we are invited at this time of year to lift no stone unturned as we take on this self work of returning to better.

What gifts have I received and not appreciated or taken good care of? What teachings, ideas, values, suggestions, truths, requests have I ignored this past year, avoided or neglected? What needs of others have I looked away from in the interest of my own selfish, if worthy needs? And what inner cleaning must I take on and how to better keep up a more disciplined life balance in the year ahead so to avoid these wasteful and expensive cleanup crises?

Today is the 19th day on this love letter journey, and the last one that I’ve designated for focus on what I am sorry for. I write to you today as a friend whose trust in some way I’ve betrayed and as a representative of Mother Earth herself, whose gifts of abundance I am grateful for and must be a better keeper of. I know you’d get a kick of representing Mother.

Today is also The Annual Character Day inviting us to examine where we ace and we fail and we can, with simple steps, be and do better. The one area in the list of traits compiled that compels me most to examine this year is Temperance. It’s usually used in the context of substance use also more generally as the “moderation in action, thought, or feeling.”

I strive for better balance between body and soul, daily needs and lofty aspirations, the right here and right now carpets I step on, and the bigger tapestry of life I and you get to be a woven part of. Both, balanced, as best as we can. I owe you a carpet… and a big hug.

Love,

Amichai

PREPENT: Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s annual journey to the new year, with 40 ways in 40 days to reflect, refocus, recharge and restart life. This year features daily love letters inspired by Lab/Shul’s theme for the High Holy Days, “וְאָהַבְתָּ re:love.”

Subscribe to Lab/Shul’s mailing list to receive this free daily blog in your inbox by checking “Prepent” as a special interest, share them on Facebook or Twitter, or read it online at the Forward.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.