Once Around

One year ago, I set out on a project to write a D’var Torah every week.  My goals were twofold: 1) to improve my writing – my ability to succinctly say something meaningful without the aid of charisma, and 2) have a practice of diligence – to complete something presentable on a weekly basis.  Not only do I feel I achieved both of these goals, but I am overwhelmed with gratitude to know that my achievements are not mine alone.  That is to say, from questions that sparked my interest, to explanations that opened gates of understanding, to editing that refined a finished product, to readers who gave encouraging comments – behind everything I wrote this year stands a group effort – everything is in thanks to you.

Thank you to everyone who took the time, whether weekly or once in a moon, to read what I wrote.  Thank you to everyone who ever wrote a comment or sent a note.  These little messages gave me unbelievable amounts of reinforcement and encouragement.  

Thank you to God for giving us the Torah and to all the Holy Yids coming before me that added life to Her splendor.  

Thank you Zvi for teaching me that things worth doing are like mosaics – day by day we lay tiny tiles, and as frustrating as that may be, at the end we see the grandeur of what comes together. 

Thank you Rav Meir for first teaching me the value every word can add to my life if only I give it the time.  And thank you Howard for the gift of grammar – the tools to understand every word deeper and deeper.

Thank you Mike for inspiring my mind with imagination, creativity, and a fiery longing.  And thank you Yiscah for insulating that fire by slowing it down with a heaping helping of loving acceptance.  

Thank you Levi for inspiring my love of stories and for telling them often.

Thank you to my partner in all things and person I love most, Carrie, for being with me every step of the way.  It was certainly not my easiest year, and through it all you were there – not to poke holes or correct, but to fill in where I lacked and gently guide me in finding my voice.  

Thank you Grandma Jean for always believing in me and only ever encouraging me to be myself.  Where I am today is because of you, and I love you with all my heart.

And most of all, thank you to my mother – my teacher – who first taught me how to read Torah.  You are my shinning example of how to live with struggle, and in so doing go straight to God.  You are my constant reminder that today should be enough, for even when I don’t know it, “surely God is present in this place” (Breishit 28:16).

With tears of joyous gratitude,

Eli

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