Are you ready for the High Holy Days? Yeah, me neither.
And I’m not just talking about making plans for attending services and arranging with whom you will eat meals. I’m referring to being ready for the work that’s central to the Days of Awe: reflecting on the past, making amends, and aiming oneself toward a better future.
Fortunately, Jewish tradition prescribes a full month before Rosh Hashanah as a time for preparation. It’s the preseason, so to speak, before we begin the regular season on the first of Tishri.
The Jewish month of Elul arrives Saturday night Here are ways you can tap into the spiritual power of Elul:
Come to Shabbat evening services. In place of Mishkan T’filah, we will utilize Mishkan HaLev, a siddur that incorporates prayers for the month of Elul.
Participate in our Shabbat HaNefesh service on September 14. Special readings and meditations will focus on spiritually preparing for the High Holy Days.
If you keep a journal, make time during Elul to read all of your entries over the past year. Examine your book of life to notice patterns, missteps, achievements, and room for self-improvement.
Read a book that knocks you out of your comfort zone. I am reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Her powerful insights are prompting me to examine my role in perpetuating the sin of racism in America.
There’s a cliché that the more you put into something, the more you’ll get out of it. This certainly rings true for the High Holy Days. The more preparation you do before Rosh Hashanah, the more meaning you’ll experience during the Days of Awe.