A prayer for Tashlich
New Year's card 5773

10 questions

This will be the fourth year that I participate in 10Q, a chance to reflect as the new year begins. 10Q takes place during the Ten Days of Teshuvah between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Every day during that period the organizers email out a question, and participants are invited to post our answers to "the vault," where they are stored until the following year. Here's how they describe it:

Logo10 Days. 10 Questions.

Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It's your 10Q. When you're finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection. Want to keep them secret? Perfect. Want to share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community? You can do that too.

Next year the whole process begins again. And the year after that, and the year after that. Do you 10Q? You should.

Click here to get your 10Q on.

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, the 10Q folks have emailed our responses from last year back to us. There's something intense and wonderful and strange about reading what I wrote last year in response to these questions about who I am and who I aspire to be. Here's one of the question-and-answer combinations which resonates most for me now:

How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?

I would like to be more grounded, more serene, more kind, more compassionate. I would like to be more attentive to the wonders of my daily life, including my husband and my child. I would like to write more, spend more time with friends, squee more, look at the sky more.

The piece of advice which is coming to mind for me right now is from a Stanley Kunitz poem: "live in the layers, not in the litter." Live in the multilayered, complicated, beautiful world of emotion and time and change. That's what I'd like to do this year.

My response still feels right to me. And I would still list all of these as among my perennial goals. I think I've managed to live up to these hopes, sometimes. (And at other times I've fallen far short, of course. Still human over here.) I used that Kunitz poem in my Yom Kippur sermon last year. It still resonates with me, too.

Now that I'm a working rabbi, answering the ten 10q questions as they arrive each day has become more challenging. (I'm kind of busy during the Days of Awe.) But it's probably good for me; it means I have to answer fairly quickly, offering the answer that's at the top of my head and heart, instead of overthinking.

Anyway. One more reason to look forward to the Days of Awe. Ten good questions, on their way.