It’s the Jewish month of Elul, the only Jewish month with no holidays after the first day. The only month you’re not scurrying around cooking for the holiday, cleaning for the holiday, inviting friends and family, making sure you have whatever holiday supplies you need for your household’s traditions. The only month you have time to sit and think, to contemplate, to plan.
Well, that’s the theory. In reality, Elul is often a really busy month. Some families go on vacation – and that takes a whole other level of planning. Some families are trying to prepare for the start of the school year, buying clothes and supplies, meeting teachers, visiting classrooms. For others, the press of work, family and volunteer activities doesn’t let up at all. (Don’t even think about the pressures Jewish professionals are under to plan and write holiday observances.) The time for contemplation is sparse.
But soon, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we will be asking ourselves to make commitments for the future, to give up old grudges and accept new challenges. And how can we do that if we haven’t been thinking about it for at least a little bit? Luckily, our brains are marvelous things. Now that you’ve read this, your brain has been triggered to make room for these ideas. You might not need to make any conscious effort at all. You’re welcome!