The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with the S’lichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I’m blogging a thought or two over at my blog for each day to help with the month of preparation.
Now, nine things I love about the month of Elul:
- I love the anticipation!
- My favorite service of the whole year is S’lichot, the Saturday evening before Rosh HaShanah when we say penitential prayers late at night. It’s beautiful and meditative, and I just love it.
- I think it’s so cool that the initials of the phrase “ani l’dodi v’dodi li” (I am my beloved and my beloved is mine) are the letters that spell the word Elul. It’s such a beautiful metaphor for the love affair between Israel and God. Before we go into the “shock and awe” of the holidays, we focus on love.
- I love the planning. I don’t really “make yontif,” but I love thinking about menu items, what to wear, how it will go, etc.
- I enjoy anticipating seeing the people who really do only show up at the synagogue once a year. Sometimes it’s young couples that I’ve married or older people who don’t come around much. I look forward to seeing their faces in the seats!
- The Haftarot are great during this month.
- Everyone understands when I explain what I do and that I’m very busy this time of year. It’s been described to me once as my “tax season.” Which I think is great – taxing our souls!
- I like knowing that all over the world, Jews are counting down the days.
- #BlogElul has given me a new way to think about preparation. I am really loving #Elulgram, too, thinking of visual ways to represent the themes of the month. I love reading all the amazing interpretations put forth by my colleagues and friends.
What do you love about Elul?