Prepent Day 16: Cleaning Up My Act

Monday 9/19/16

Elul 16 5776

Dear Moths,

I’m sorry for annihilating, not without satisfaction and a bit of pleasure, every single one of you that I could find. My recent Tineola bisselliella infestation, I am told, was not as bad as others, and yet enough damage has been done and you are no longer welcome to use my home as yours. I have pious friends who follow Jain or strict Buddhist paths and wouldn’t hurt a fly or squat a mosquito, but they have also advised zero-tolerance despite what is without question your mass murder.

What you made me realize as I’ve spent these past days sorting, cleaning, spraying, bagging and reorganizing every shelf and drawer is that what I’m really sorry for is the state of neglect that some of my closet life has been in and how overdue this clean-up is. With every bag I’ve sent to clean or give away I’m getting rid of what’s no longer needed and clean up, symbolically as well, my act.

Zero-tolerance to what you are and represent is a tall order and also stands for for the honest inner work of clearing the neglectful messy corners of my mind.

On this 16th day of traveling to a new and better year, I thank you for playing your part in the ecosystem and serving as a tool for change. Sorry for enjoying your demise. You are not evil - you are part of nature, but there is a time and place for everything, and this too is what I’m relearning today about my own dealing with the wild within that kept unwatched can eat right through the fabric of my life.

I’ve got two closets to go. What’s on your clean up list?


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.”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Prepent Day 16: Cleaning Up My Act

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