Wishful thinking

Wishful thinking

The following was inadvertently left out of the “Rabbis’ High Holy Day Messages” in the last Princeton Mercer Bucks issue.

ONE OF THE joys of life is that inspiration can strike from anywhere. As a rabbi, I am constantly searching for messages, words, and ideas that can inspire my community. A number of years ago I was listening to the band Wilco’s song “Wishful Thinking.” The chorus is:

Fill up your mind with all it can know
Don’t forget that your body will let it all go
Fill up your mind with all it can know
What would we be without wishful thinking?

Hearing the song, all I could think was that this is the message of our High Holy Days when we are faced with the prospect of our own mortality. God judges us each year, and one day it will be our turn to move on to Olam Haba, the World to Come. The question is, What will we do with the time we have now? Wilco’s suggestion is to fill our minds with all we can know and to engage in a little wishful thinking. What better way to spend our days, particularly these days of introspection at the beginning of the New Year. Our tradition has always encouraged and commanded us to fill up our minds with all the Torah we can know and to pray.

So I ask you, as you spend time in services this year, what are you wishing for? What kind of knowledge are you putting into your head? How are you making yourself a better person than last year?

Shana tova u’metuka! May you be blessed with a year of beautiful wishes that come true.

Rabbi Benjamin J. Adler
Adath Israel Congregation

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