Wednesday, September 13, 2017

#BlogElul 5777: Begin

Photo: Flickr user @sufeco/CC
My High Holiday season begins in July, when the URJ’s communications team starts planning updates and new content for the website and blog. I’ve been reading, writing, and editing High Holiday material since August. At this point, I can spell S’lichot, Un’taneh Tokef, and Shanah tovah um’tukah in my sleep – with all the apostrophes in the right places.

After so many weeks and countless submissions, coupled with these nightly #BlogElul posts, I’m weary, and but for the fasting, I feel as though I’ve already done much of the spiritual heavy lifting the season demands.

Piggybacking on an idea from a friend and colleague, I’m pondering the possibility of beginning some personal High Holiday traditions (and refining others I began last year) that will give me some balance – and a respite from the Jewish people. As others rush to squish into pews, folding chairs, and theater seats in congregations and other venues the world over, I may opt to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, take a walk, read, ponder, reflect, appreciate, nap, and enjoy some much-needed quietude. I may do so on Rosh HaShanah only or, save for the leisurely breakfast, on Yom Kippur, too. Maybe on the erevs, maybe not. As my father is fond of saying (and you know he has an expression for everything), “I’ll see how the spirit moves me.”

Ultimately, I suspect that this bit of self-care – of which there never seems to be enough – may be just what I need to wipe the slate clean, turn over a new leaf, and begin to be my best self (or at least a better self) in the new year. And after all, isn’t that what this season is all about?

Inspired by Ima on (and off) the Bima , this #BlogElul post is one in a series marking the days of the Hebrew month of Elul, which precede the Jewish High Holidays and traditionally serve as a time of reflection and spiritual preparation for the new year.