That month in the Jewish calendar – the month before the High Holi-daze hit, when we are supposed to take time and reflect. It’s an individual assignment – homework each night – to think about what we can change about ourselves. The shofar blows each day remind us to wake up – like the car horn blast from behind that makes you jump when you’re not paying attention.
Imagine having a month to wake up and consider what we can do better.
Wake up. Hear. Listen. Change for the better. You don’t have to imagine it – we got it right here. Pretty cool, eh?
It’s also a time to ask those whom we have hurt for forgiveness, as only the one who has hurt another can do.
Elul. It’s a month giving us time to repent and feel remorse leading up to Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – with 10 days in between, culminating with Yom Kippur.
There are so many things that I need to change, to improve, to stop doing altogether.
I also look at this time to reflect upon how incredibly lucky I am. How grateful.
I really need to remember to be more grateful – and I’m sure that I’m not alone in this – right? I need to be more appreciative of all that I have and all that is around me.
Many remember through morning prayers. Morning ritual. Morning epiphanies (which for me, is an oxymoron).
But alas, I forget. When I wake up in the morning, all recharged and ready to take on the day – or at least get a bowl of Cheerios – and I can see, stretch, get up, do those “morning things” the first thing I should think of is, “Thanks, God.” Baruch Atah Adonai … Blessed are You God … You rock, God … You are the bestest and the greatest and wow, just WOW! You did all that? Sheesh!
So – starting today – no really, I’m serious – today I am going to start each day by being grateful.
Maybe it’s a morning prayer, or a morning thought. Maybe it’s that extra kiss on the “keppe” (head) that I give my kids (if, at their age, they allow me to). It’s on my way to work, or a thought while I’m brushing my teeth.
Elul – you’re on – let’s go – let’s do this!
From this day forward, I shall remember to be grateful for all the things in my life.
Like for instance …
- Having a partner in life who loves me (most of the time).
- Having children to drive me nuts – and I them.
- Parents who are still proud of me (even at my age of 51, and that still feels great).
- A “bonus Mom” and “bonus Dad” z’l, who always treat me as their own.
- A job that not only puts food on the table, but a career that I am passionate about.
- Good health.
- Brothers, sisters and their spouses – who are all close.
- Nieces and nephews who have grown up too fast.
- Air to breathe. Water to drink. A home to live in.
- Family drama that is always resolved.
- Israel in my heart and in my soul.
- Real friends.
- A continuing education.
- Sushi and brisket.
- Life experience.
- My perennials, even if they end up being annuals.
- A sense of humor.
- Diet Dr. Pepper.
- Living here in the USA – when everywhere else seems to be really messed up right now.
- Music and singing.
- Being Jewish.
- No regrets (so far).
You may be grateful for many of these things as well – and more.
I am going to take this month of Elul to not only think about all of changes I need to make as we move into the New Year of 5777, but a time to also be grateful.
To embrace all that I have.
Will you join me? It’s Elul.