The Invincibility of Vulnerability

Pre-Elul 60 Days Workshop

How do you react to the word “vulnerable?” Does it elicit feelings of weakness, fear, concern? Do all your red lights and whistles go off? If that is your response, rest assured, you are not alone. Most people today see vulnerability as a liability. The first results appearing in a Google search for the word “vulnerability” are definitions in Wikipedia and various other dictionaries. Vulnerability, they say, refers to “the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment.” “Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” Or in business: “Liable to higher penalties.” All these reactions and definitions reflect the nature of our times: we live in a hostile world, people are exploitive and looking to take advantage of one another. Thus, being vulnerable is dangeorus. It leaves you exposed and unprotected.

But is this true? Not whether the world is a risky place and people can hurt each other; but whether vulnerability is nothing more than a handicap or deficiency, leaving one open to attack? Obviously, we need armor to protect ourselves in an aggressive and inhospitable world. But what about love, children, trust, gentleness, sensuality, soulfullness — what would we be like if we were not vulnerable? Has our menacing world caused us to lose (or conceal) a critical part of our selves? Think of it this way: In an unsafe world we need protection; what about in a trusting world? In a war zone we build walls and fortresses; in a malignant environment we wear masks and scrubs to filter out toxins. But have we lost, due to these fears and dangers, a vital part of our psyches? Can we listen and be touched by music or flowers without our vulnerability?

In this disarming pre-Elul discussion with Rabbi Jacobson you will learn a new definition of vulnerability — one that captures and reflects the essence of your being. One that transcends all fears and insecurities. As we move from sad Av into loving Elul, we learn how to embrace the love in our vulnerable souls, and above all — express it in our often cold and harsh world.

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