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Accounting for Each Day

08/17/2021 08:00:52 AM


Rabbi Ron Segal

As we make our way through the month of Elul, the countdown to the start of a New Year continues. What began as 29 days is now down to 18… 18 days remaining in which to focus on Heshbon haNefesh, an accounting of the soul which Jewish tradition implores us to pursue throughout this month in advance of Rosh Hashanah. Each of these days invites a personal assessment, contemplation of who, where and how we are relationally, emotionally, spiritually… and encourages us to re-balance where necessary. Approached with intention, it is this preparation – this personal accounting – that will truly enable us to begin the New Year with a fresh slate.  As is always the case, it seems, these precious days of Elul will disappear speedily. Let us, therefore, appreciate their value as more than mere tick marks on the page of a calendar, take an honest accounting, and prepare our hearts and souls accordingly.

Poet Stuart Kestenbaum masterfully draws upon familiar imagery and experiences to convey deeper meaning. In “The Metered Life,” Kestenbaum strikes a particularly timely chord. Wishing all 18 meaningful and productive days as well as a New Year replete with blessing, good health, and shalom.

“The Metered Life"  by Stuart Kestenbaum

The moment you slide into the back seat of the taxi
You know life is measured, the dollars 

on the meter already, and then every quarter mile, 
half mile, every extended wait bumper to bumper 

adding to the fare. You can look at the driver’s 
registration, his photo, learn what your rights are, 

look at Manhattan blur on either side, but 
your eyes are fixed on the red numbers, 

the bill you’re running up. Other parts 
of your life, you never see the cost as 

directly. Here you’re driven a mile, you spend 
money, watch it go yard by yard. But why 

only taxis? Why not the metered life 
for everything, the digital read out 

on your phone telling you those minutes 
with your mother are costing you, and why not 

one above the television, one attached to 
the plumber’s back like a scoreboard, 

or one on each shoe letting you know 
each step has a price. How about a meter for 

the paint wearing off your house, or one on each 
child letting you know what it costs to raise them. 

Wouldn’t that keep your life in line, knowing what 
each day costs, and you could reach into your pocket 

at nightfall and settle up.  Now in some places 
like Washington, DC the cabs don’t have meters.

Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782