According to the Jewish calendar, last Wednesday was Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. Those Jews who follow the prescribed tradition, spend the whole day in the synagogue, praying, asking for forgiveness, while abstaining from eating and drinking. This is the day (year after year) when our future is sealed for at least one year (that is, if you believe there is a higher power, whom we call God, who knows what each of us is doing and how we spend our day to day lives). In the prayers on Yom Kippur, we acknowledge that we missed the mark and promise to change our behavior, or even who we are. Is it possible? In the Torah one of the first stories is about the first children, Cain and Abel. When both of them brought an offering to God, He chose Abel’s and not Cain’s. “This annoyed Cain exceedingly, and his continence fell. And Hashem (God) said to Cain, “Why are you annoyed, and why has your continence fallen? Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, sin rests at the door. Its desire is toward you, yet you can conquer it” (Genesis 4:5-7). It is easy to say this, even for the God, but how can we change?
I found a possible answer in the book written by Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., “What You Can Change… And What You Can’t. Learning to Accept Who You Are”. The subtitle promises, “The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement.” In the book, I learned that among things we can change are moods, sexual “dysfunctions” and even depression. Turns out, optimism is a learned skill (Mr. Seligman’s previous book was titled “Learned Optimism”). At the same time, among other things: ”Dieting, in the long run, almost never works and no treatment is known to improve on the natural course of recovery from alcoholism.”
We all would like to improve our lives, and change our future. If you do not know how, perhaps reading the book could be beneficial.
P.S. There is however, another way for a change – adopt a dog. Since our labradoodle puppy Max became member of our family two years ago, many things have changed in our lives. Most important, we experience more love. Max wakes me up with a kiss at 6:15 in the morning, and gives me a kiss after 10 in the evening, signaling that I have to stop writing and it is time for both of us to go to bed. And with love, you can change anything. While I am finishing working on my next photo-story book “42 Encounters with Love”, you can buy “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” on Amazon.com. I guarantee a positive change. Meanwhile, please enjoy these four images of Max.
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