Today marks the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul 5775. Traditionally this marks the beginning of our preparation for the High Holy day celebrations of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur next month. The month of Elul invites us each day to hear the sound of the shofar, calling us to begin the process of introspection and reflection that make this season so spiritually powerful.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, we read: “The eye never has its fill of seeing, nor the mind of knowing.” Ultimately, this month invites us to use the power of sight and insight to think about our lives. We look outward to see the world in which we are privileged to live for such a short span of time. We look at the blessings of our existence – our comparable comfort, modern technologies that allow us to travel and communicate as never before, advances in healthcare and medicine that extend life’s quantity and quality, the safety and security we enjoy in this country and the blessing of living in a time when our people controls its fate and destiny in our own homeland. We think about the gift of relationships with family and friends, who so deeply enrich our lives through the sharing of the power of their love, their intellect, their passion and compassion.
At the same time we look inward to examine our inner life. We think about how we have chosen to construct our lives. We consider how we chose to use our talent and ability, toward what we devoted our resources and our energies. We reexamine our dreams, reflect on our purposes, consider how we chose to serve our own individual needs and the needs of others.
Each day this month, I will invite you to examine some element of life and our individual and collective journeys. I hope that by sharing this journey with you, that we all will greet the year 5776 with better wisdom for what life can ultimately mean, and with better understanding of how we can enrich our lives – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – in the New Year.