Running reflections

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

It is dark at 5 a.m. On Monday morning it was not much better at 6 a.m. I was scheduled to meet a friend for a run that morning. When it became apparent she was a no-show, I started off by myself. 

Naturally, I had left my light behind so I was forced to pay particular attention to my steps. I went a familiar route, trusting my memory and instinct. Slowly, I abandoned my strong desire to return to the comfort of my bed, and headed east hoping for a crack of sunlight from behind the ominous clouds.

I often run alone and am grateful for the solitude and strength it brings. Yet, on this particular morning, I was not lonely. Sandwiched between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I was left to reflect upon these Days of Awe. In fact, they seemed even more daunting in the dark. 

I ran feeling the presence of a fellow runner. I ran sensing the emotions and feelings from two services already completed. I ran with recent conversations running through my memory. I ran with a “to-do” list for the days ahead. I paused at the overpass of 270 taken back by the rush of traffic and the glares of headlights rushing to destinations north and south. 

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My run was not particularly fast that morning. Back at my car I rushed to return to the solitude of my home where I knew everyone would still be asleep. And I silently thanked God for this gift. I was not alone.