Thursday, August 12, 2010

Make the Most of Elul

There are many traditions associated with this time of the Jewish calendar that are used to heighten the importance and seriousness of these days of the month of Elul. Here are some to try this month:

Recite Psalms every day to open your heart.
Make cheshbon ha-nefesh, a daily moral inventory, before going to sleep.
Practice shmirat halashon, conscious speech, and avoid gossip.
Give tzedakah daily.
Send Rosh HaShanah cards and tell people how important they are to you.
Take a walk each day to connect to the world around you.
Do something that makes you happy.
Learn something new during this period of time.
Make time each Shabbat for rest and relaxation.
Do something nice for your body to honor it and dedicate its actions to the good.
Buy something new to wear on Rosh HaShanah.

Do you do any of these? Or do you engage in other customs to get ready? For many people, I know that their list also includes preparing meals and all that. How do you prepare spiritually amidst the mundane details of table setting and menu planning?

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 Selichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, I'll be blogging (except on Shabbat) a thought for each day to help with your month of preparation...

1 comment:

Rabbi Sharff said...

Spend personal time with your spouse or partner. And likewise with the kids leaving aside technology