Elul, the month preceding the High Holidays, is a time of introspection and deep thought. Where are we going in our lives? What is leading us away from the right path, and how can we re-orient ourselves for the coming year? It can be overwhelming to contemplate the past year and to try to get a sense of the whole. To avoid this overwhelm, we can take bite-sized pieces, do little bits of remembering and considering each day, so that by the time we reach Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we can start to try to put it all together.
One excellent tool to stimulate our thoughts is the project known as Jewels of Elul. This resource brings together thinkers from many different parts of Jewish life to write short, thought-provoking pieces, one for each day of Elul. Just a few minutes of reading these pieces and thinking about their import for our own lives can pay great dividends in the process of t’shuvah – turning and returning.
The custom during the month of Elul is to begin using the greeting of the New Year with each other, to remind each other and ourselves that we are in the middle of this process that leads to growth and renewal. So I say to all of you: L’shanah tovah tikateivu – may we inscribe ourselves for sweetness, blessing, and goodness in the year that is coming.