Intend. (#BlogElul 27)

[Note: This post will appear as part of #BlogElul – Daily Photos & Posts on High Holy Day Themes – hosted by @imabima, … which kind of makes me feel famous. :)]

Rabbi Jack Riemer relates the story of three demons who set out to corrupt human beings, and then come back together to compare their results. The first one describes his approach: “I tell people that there is no God. But it doesn’t work. People are too smart. They see the wonders of the world and they don’t believe me.” The second one says: “I tell people that there is a God, but that She didn’t give the Torah. But it doesn’t work. People are too smart. They look into the Torah and see how much wisdom it contains, and they don’t believe me.”

Then the third one says: “I tell people that there is a God and that She gave the Torah. But then I say to them, ‘What’s the rush? You have time to do what God wants tomorrow.’ And that almost always works.”

At this time of new beginnings, perhaps we can learn from the first beginning. “Vayomer Elohim y’hi or, va-y’hi or – God said: Let there be light, and there was light.” According to the great sage, Maimonides (in his philosophical dictionary of the Torah), “Vayomer” means God “thought” or “planned.” A thought, a plan, an intention, and then – Bam! – the thing itself.

No, we can never fully imitate God … but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. This year may we work to shorten the gap between intention and implementation. And when the creative, helpful, noble deed is done, may we too have that wonderful moment of realization: “And it was good.”

2 thoughts on “Intend. (#BlogElul 27)”

  1. This seems like an action version of that magical invisible pen you blogged about earlier. From thought to action — I do not think there is an app for that. It does seem as though guilt over not acting on the intention is guaranteed to stop all possibility of future action. (Better to hand in some sort of paper than to have a really great story about how bad one feels for not handing in the paper.)


    1. In my own experience, I’ve found perfectionism, rather than guilt, to be the greatest impediment to action. But the remedy seems to be the same: do _something_ – a piece, a portion. It’s probably why I’m writing blog posts rather than the great American novel. 😉


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