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If you take the time to understand your baseline normative levels of functioning and your likely triggers, you are much more likely to be cognizant of when you feel “off” and to recover so you can actually enjoy the warmth of Hanukkah without being burnt by it. Bring this practice to your Menorah lighting ritual with our Burn Out Blessing Cards!
Hanukkah can also remind us we, like the rest of the world, need to remember the great miracles we are and have light shed on the innermost parts of ourselves that need attention and understanding. In this book we have devoted space to eight essential reflection prompts we hope will help you reflect on your year — on what brought you light and what dimmed your light — as we add more light to our menorahs this season. We will intersperse these prompts with our mental health Hanukkah resources.
Hanukkah can remind us we, like the rest of the world, need to remember the great miracles we are and have some light shed on the innermost parts of ourselves that need attention and understanding. We have devoted space to eight essential reflection prompts we hope will help you reflect on your year — on what brought you light and what dimmed your light — as we add more light to our menorahs this season.
“Kol Yisrael arevim zeh la zeh – All Jews are responsible for one another” is a Talmudic phrase most often used as a call to action. A symbol of the responsibility we should feel for the well-being of others. It is also a sign of unity and strength, and it reminds us that we are never truly alone in our struggles.
Much like we invite ushpezin into our sukkot, what qualities or practices would you like to invite into your life in the new year? Maybe you want to focus inwardly on forming new self-care and gratitude practices. Or, maybe you want to focus outwardly and commit to reaching out to friends and family more often? You can choose qualities or practices that feel big or small to you — even small steps can make a big impact on our mental wellbeing.
Judaism encourages us to question, to learn and to grow; it’s one of the unique and valued traditions of our religion. While we as Jews do this all year round, it is especially emphasized during the holidays at the beginning of a new year. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer us a chance to focus on self-reflection and improvement. Simchat Torah presents a different opportunity to celebrate and begin a fresh start to our Jewish growth and learning.
Simchat Torah speaks to us in two ways. First, the completion and renewal of the Torah can show those of us stuck in or holding onto the past that we can begin again, and we aren’t alone in our need for a fresh start. Second, when all else fails, sometimes we just need to move our body. Simchat Torah provides a jumpstart of fun, excitement and dance we can use to pull ourselves out of our own heads and into our bodies, which can serve as a form of informal dance therapy.
During the High Holidays, we reflect on ourselves and the year we've had and recite prayers like "Vidui" where we list out our sins. But we need to be mindful of the complexity of human life and its ups and downs, and that we are far more than any one label, misdeed or illness. Just as the Vidui serves as a catch-all for misdeeds we might have done that we might not even have been aware of, we should recognize there are plenty of good deeds we performed as well without realizing it. We are not our sins, we are not our mistakes, we are not our diagnosis. We are human and created in the Image of God.
תשליך/Tashlich is an expression of repentance, acceptance, and forgiveness for how we mistreated others. But we must also forgive ourselves for the ways we mistreated ourselves. Check out our blessing card, perfect for your Tashlich experience.