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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  (rabbi@adathisraelsf.org) has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


During the High Holidays we spend a lot of time talking (praying) to G-d. Unfortunately, it usually feels like a one sided conversation. Imagine what it would be like if G-d directly responded to us. Imagine if we could have a conversation with G-d - what would we ask? Some time ago, I found a creative and insightful piece by an unknown author called "An Interview with G-d." I think this can help us prioritize our goals for the coming year.

I dreamt I had an interview with G-d.

"Come in," G-d said. "So, you would like to interview Me?"

"If You have the time," I said.

G-d smiled and said: "My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask Me?"

"What surprises You most about mankind?"

G-d answered:
"That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.
That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.
That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.
That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…"

G-d’s hands took mine and we were silent for a while and then I asked…"As a Parent, what are some of life’s lessons You want Your children to learn?"

G-d replied with a smile:
"To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.
To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.
To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis!
To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.
To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.
To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.
To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.
To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.
To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally differently.
To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them…and likes them anyway.
To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves."

I sat there for a while enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for His time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, "Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day.  All you have to do is ask for Me, and I’ll answer."

People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did,
but people will never forget
how you made them feel.