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The Gift of Choice. And Figs. A New Year Wish from Jeremiah

Weekly Vid. Review of Below the Bible Belt

On the eve of this new Jewish year - a hopeful vision from the weeping prophet Jeremiah - yet with a BIG IF, offering us a recipe for a better life and year - conditional on how we choose to live and love - and if we have the courage to open our hearts to change -- and change our minds, for good. 

One of the main tropes of the High Holy Days is Teshuva - the power of remorse and repentance - how to return to our best selves, with responsibility for all the ways we can be and do better. 

This was Jeremiah’s go-to sermon 24/7 in Jerusalem and still it’s timeless - in Jerusalem and everywhere..

What will each of us take on these high and holy days, this new year, to be less part of the problem and more part of the solution? 

Jeremiah, like other prophets, keeps reminding us that a lot of our fate is in our hands - and even the divine source may change the divine mind - if we choose the path of whatever is more moral, ethical, loving and more just. 

This week we visited a potter’s studio with Jeremiah, paying attention to this craft as a metaphor for our malleable lives:

הֲכַיּוֹצֵ֨ר הַזֶּ֜ה לֹא־אוּכַ֨ל לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לָכֶ֛ם בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֑ה הִנֵּ֤ה כַחֹ֙מֶר֙ בְּיַ֣ד הַיּוֹצֵ֔ר כֵּן־אַתֶּ֥ם בְּיָדִ֖י בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃     רֶ֣גַע אֲדַבֵּ֔ר עַל־גּ֖וֹי וְעַל־מַמְלָכָ֑ה לִנְת֥וֹשׁ וְלִנְת֖וֹץ וּֽלְהַאֲבִֽיד׃ וְשָׁב֙ הַגּ֣וֹי הַה֔וּא מֵרָ֣עָת֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּ֖רְתִּי עָלָ֑יו וְנִֽחַמְתִּי֙ עַל־הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָשַׁ֖בְתִּי לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לֽוֹ׃   וְרֶ֣גַע אֲדַבֵּ֔ר עַל־גּ֖וֹי וְעַל־מַמְלָכָ֑ה לִבְנ֖וֹת וְלִנְטֽוֹעַ׃

O House of Israel, can I not deal with you like this potter?—says YHWH. Just like clay in the hands of the potter, so are you in My hands, O House of Israel!

At one moment I may decree that a nation or a kingdom shall be uprooted and pulled down and destroyed;

but if that nation against which I made the decree turns back from its wickedness, I change My mind concerning the punishment I planned to bring on it. At another moment I may decree that a nation or a kingdom shall be built and planted;

Jeremiah 18:6-9

The image of the clay became a famous high holiday hymn that many of us will hymn during this season. We are both clay and creator. Some is unknown. Some is on us.

Can we help turn and return, rebuild and replant - trust, hope, security and survival? 

That’s the high hope, the prophetic promise and our new year blessing. 

Shana Tova!

And one more blessing:

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Below the Bible Belt
Authors
Amichai Lau-Lavie (he/him)