Elul 24 5776
I invoke you often - “hope you are well, and I hope to see you again..” and even as I mean it, am I deeply powered by your inner honest code of highest hope? Or just cliche-ing?
Do I still embody your virtue when I get sucked into anxious worry about this or that, the big things and the small? As I, we, do. When things seem hopeless?
I am an optimist, inspired by many, including Winston Churchill who said that “the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity; the optimist sees opportunity in every danger.” And I’m familiar with my inner pessimist but I want to dance more with my inner optimist this coming year, to not waste energy on worry and to find fresh possibilities inside each challenge. At least in theory.
There are situations that seem hopeless, gridlocks of discord and animosity, depressions and descents, dark, violent dissenting voices in our heads and our world. We all get to live through such times, alone and together, less or more. W learn from those who came before us, and not everybody makes it, but the ones who did, who do, cite hope as one of the key ingredients in the diet of surviving and thriving through life, no matter what.
Like exercising a muscle, activating hope in more than just auto-pilot niceties needs to be a critical part of our well being work out routine, right after we warm up by refusing to come from fear. Hosea the prophet preached this reminder on the hills of Judah: Return to your sacred source, be kind and just, keep hoping’.
Hope, I believe and hope, can be taught and cultivated— this coming year, I want to take some extra lessons.
On this 24th day of a journey to a better future, I invite and ask you, Hope, Tikva, to stick around, patiently, as we sometimes not live up to your compelling courage. Please, have hope enough in us to keep on trying.
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.”
This story "Prepent Day 24: The Virtue of Hope" was written by Amichai Lau-Lavie.