Thursday, September 3, 2009

The month of Elul

I always find myself re-evaluating at this time of year. I guess more so than at the Gregorian New Year, I do it at the time of Rosh Hashanah. Ever since college, I have this prayer/poem that I read and contemplate (thanks, Stuart, I still have it). The first line is "Now is the time to take an accounting of my life." Am I doing what I want to do? Am I being the best person I can be? Am I the best wife, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend (last year was the first one where I didn't ask if I was the best granddaughter.... that was hard, and still is).

There is a new element this year, a new question I feel like asking myself. Is what I am doing showing my love for Hashem? Am I doing the best with the gifts He has given me? Am I moving forward on the tzaddik path? What aspects of myself should I be working on that will make me a better Jew, because from all I have been studying and learning, that makes me a better person.

We are in the Hebrew month of Elul, and some say that Elul (spelled with the Hebrew letters alef-lamed-vav-lamed) is an acronym for Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li (also alef-lamed-vav-lamed), which can translate to "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." This really resonates with me-- in this case, the beloved is not my beloved Patrick, but Hashem. This month is about looking at that relationship in preparation for the New Year and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I find myself unsettled-- have I done enough to show my love? Have I accepted His love? I like the thought of having an entire month to contemplate this and prepare for the high holydays, because when the time comes to ask Hashem for forgiveness and blessings, I will have a more complete understanding of who I am right now, what I've been doing and who I want to be.


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