A Bisl Torah

Write Your Fortune

In San Francisco, we received a great tip to visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Tucked within a decorated alley, we almost missed this hidden gem. A narrow door revealed fortune cookie wonders: All different flavors of cookies and best of all, the chance to write your own fortune and watch it get folded into a cookie.

Coincidentally, my husband and I wrote fortunes…for each other. Something felt wrong about writing a fortune for ourselves. He read what I wrote for him and vice versa. However, the kids had no problem writing fortunes for themselves.

As we read our notes, I wondered why my husband and I felt silly writing our own. As we begin the High Holy Day season, shouldn’t we all be articulating and formulating the fortunes we hope to experience? Verbalizing and integrating the changes we pray to see and impact we yearn to make? Why not put into the universe the ways we seek to grow? The ways we regret acting and wish to transform?

Rabba Sara Hurwitz writes about Rambam’s blueprint for teshuvah, repentance. Determining to do things differently and not repeating egregious behaviors is the key to change. She summarizes, “This moment is turning point when a person decides to rewrite the script that guides their lives. Awareness. Confession. Regret. And Resolve to change and do better.”

A fortune cookie is usually reading someone’s prediction for the person that randomly chooses that treat. But Jews don’t believe in that kind of divination. Instead, we believe in the ability to partner with God in changing this world and changing ourselves.

In other words, we can write our own fortunes. It’s this act of heshbon hanefesh, accounting of our souls, that might just put the world back on track.

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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