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Online Learning! Getting Teshuvah Done: Concrete tips for the season of Elul

The first class in ongoing, online study with RebDrew at Lev Learning. Here is the description:

There are shelves and shelves of self-help and business books out there which assist you in getting your life planned and in order. Chief among these ranks David Allen’s, Getting Things Done — a book which has helped thousands of overwhelmed people manage their seemingly insurmountable task list. Allen teaches us how to organize our projects and break them down into small, do-able chunks of achievement. The idea is to relieve unnecessary anxiety, by getting things outside of our heads to a place where we can see clearly what we must do.

But talk about anxiety! It’s bad enough when we confront our working lives and the mountain of demands placed upon us out in the external world. But do we not feel all the more overwhelmed, without a clue where to begin, when we near the High Holy Days in the month of Elul? When we confront a much more awesome – and divine – task, not of getting a mere email list together, but rather of trying to right our off-kilter relationships and change ourselves for the better? All too often, it seems, there is way, way too much to do, on all fronts. So much so that, for many of us, we let our obligations slip by another year, like an unanswered email falling further down the Inbox. Once again, like in other years, we don’t really do the work; we don’t get Teshuvah done.

In this class, we will together learn concrete — and most importantly — easily do-able steps to rise to the specific, spiritual practice of Elul. We will start with Allen’s ideas of breaking projects down into do-able chunks. Then we will draw upon uplifting Jewish teachings on Teshuvah from the Bible, Rabbinic literature, Rav Kook, and others. Finally, we will glean our most precious treasures from an essay by Rabbi Elya Weintraub: The Practical Attitude to the Work of the Days of Elul. We will discover that Teshuvah need not be approached as an overwhelming, anxiety-provoking undertaking. We will instead discover a gentle path of self care, love, great joy and optimism. More importantly, in this class, we will learn much more than how to “manage” our Teshuvah during the month of Elul and through the High Holidays: We will also take away an entirely new philosophy of life that serves us well beyond the Season and into the years to come.


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