Elul 8: Head Changing Day ~ Rabbi Rami Shapiro

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Rosh Hashanah is “Head (rosh) Changing (shenah) Day.” You can’t have a new year with an old head. So if you want a new year, you are going to need to get a new head.A new head is a story-free head. Your stories define you. If your stories are positive and loving, then you are optimistic and loving. If your stories are negative and fearful, then you are angry and afraid. Regardless of their emotional charge, however, stories are not reality.

A new head is story-free. A new head engages reality with compassionate curiosity, going into what is without the baggage of what was or what is supposed to be.

If you want a new head, identify the stories you carry with you. Ask yourself: “Am I absolutely certain this story is true?” “How does telling this story make me feel?” If you are telling stories you don’t know to be true, stop telling them. If telling your stories makes you anything other than just, kind, and humble, stop telling them. In fact, stop telling stories altogether.

Who are you without your story? You don’t know, and not knowing is the key to having a new head.


Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning poet and essayist, whose liturgical writings are used in prayer services throughout North America. www.rabbirami.com