Ah – summertime.  That great time when we slow things down and be “lazy.”  Ugh, how that always used to bother me.  As a “type A” personality, especially when I was younger (although I know many of you may wonder how it’s possible to be MORE type A than I may seem now,) the summer always stretched out in the beginning as a time to “get a lot done” and my anxiety would build as the weeks of August loomed like deadlines I was about to miss on what I didn’t accomplish.  Sound familiar to some of you?  We often start off the summer with two plans – to relax and to get things done.  Is it possible to do both?

I will tell you I truly believe it is, but not the things that you may think.  We often forget about what we are getting done WHEN we relax.  When we slow things down, we are truly accomplishing something wonderful.  We are REJUVENATING our bodies, our minds and, very importantly, our souls.

Summer has such amazing things that come with it.  (Okay, some not so amazing things too, as I swat a mosquito away.)  Summer has WARMTH, a kind of warmth from the sun that goes through our skin and helps our body cells to warm up, like a great heating pad.  Embrace it in small enough doses that you aren’t overheating it, and your cells can do some amazing healing work.

Mentally, taking time to just sit and let your mind wander, something many of us may do during a summer day, is not “doing nothing.”  It is allowing your mind, like a computer, to reset and restructure its thoughts, which brings you back more focused and able to continue your mental work in a coherent and more organized way.

Spiritually, summer is a GREAT time for us to embrace slowing things down.  Historically, our time spent at the synagogue is less than ever, which prompts many to think we are not being “Jewish” in the summer.  I disagree completely.  We aren’t being institutionally Jewish maybe, but we are very much giving our souls what it needs when we are being “lazy” – we are giving our souls time to connect to the world around us, to our surroundings, which is one of the most nourishing things we can give to our souls.  We may not fully think of the connection we have with nature when we look at a beautiful flower with a bee hovering over it and later we put honey in our morning tea, but our soul makes that connection for us.  Our soul SINGS every time we notice the vibrant greens of the leaves, the sun setting later in the day and the sound of crickets in the night.  All those summertime things that we experience while being “lazy!”

This is all preparatory work for our High Holidays, for our being ready to come back in full.  I would say that is the exact opposite to the idea that we “didn’t get things done” and “we aren’t being Jewish” in the summer.

Enjoy your summer, and I will leave you with this great summertime prayer I found when searching for one this week.  Judaism has a prayer for everything, and when one can’t be found, we will create one!

I found this on MyJewishLearning.com.  Go to this link if you’d like to read more about this blessing.



For the lengthening of days, stretching sunshine far past its winter bedtime,
For the bright blues and vibrant green and pops of color filling the warm world,
For the unrelenting humidity that reminds us to savor the sweetness of cooler breezes,
For all the sounds of summer – the jingling of ice cream trucks, joyful shouts of children splashing, lingering laughter over meals shared on patios, the shuddering clap of thunderstorms demonstrating something more powerful than us,
For summer camps and vacations and time spent outside,
For good AC when we’re stuck indoors,
For sun,
For shade,
For all these things and more, we thank You.
And may God bless and keep the mosquitoes… far away from us.

Published by jesschasen

Temple Emanuel Sisterhood - Past President 2019-2020 Temple Emanuel - Interim Executive Director

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