Friday, 26 September 2008

And so we begin

The job of a congregational rabbi doesn’t suit the perfectionist.

How much time should a rabbi spend meeting a woman who has lost a husband after fifty years of marriage?

How often should a rabbi make a call to check that a housebound member is doing OK?

How does a rabbi manage to focus on the one conversation he is being engaged in when the in-tray and the schedule bulge?

How does a rabbi balance these, ultimately professional, challenges with the need to find time to study, to pray and to tend their responsibilities as husband, father, son and friend?

These questions are all, of course, excuses. The truth is that I should have done better. I have learnt lessons aplenty this last year and now the challenge is to make different mistakes, better mistakes, in the year to come. As Beckett counselled, ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’


Many of you, reading this blog, I know. And some of you I know I have offended, this past year. There will be more, of course, I have offended unknowingly.

Rambam teaches that neither this sacred time, nor the personal psychological work of teshuvah have any effect when it comes to the sins committed between one person and the next until the offender has sought the forgiveness of the offended.

I am fairly sure would not have felt that a mass e-mail would have counted, but let me nonetheless take the opportunity of this New Year to ask for your forgiveness and wish one and all a sweet, healthy and happy year.


Shabbat Shalom and

L’Shannah Tovah


Rabbi Jeremy

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