#BlogElul 1 – Prepare

BlogElul graphicToday is the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve seen quite a few versions of this post – the tentative first step, the beginning of the process.

Today, for the first time this year, we heard the shofar blowing at morning minyan. Every weekday for the month of Elul, leading right up to Rosh HaShanah, the New Year, we blow the shofar at the end of the morning prayers, to remind us that time is short and the High Holy Days will be here before we know it.

So today’s theme is Prepare, and G-d knows I’ve got a lot of that on my plate this month. This is the first year I will be solely responsible for the Torah reading for the High Holy Days at my shul. There will be hundreds of people sitting in the sanctuary, and with any luck, some of them will be listening to me rather than chatting among themselves. They are there to have a conversation with G-d, and my Torah reading is part of facilitating that conversation.

Torah reading year-round has a certain tune to it, called a trope, but for the High Holy Days it is different. This is particularly tricky to learn when I am also responsible for the regular Torah readings, with the usual trope. So there will be a lot of preparation going on on my part, spending time with the words and the trope, making sure my reading is the best it can be.

Of course there are the usual preparations for a holiday, such as cooking and cleaning. But for this set of holidays in particular, we spend time beforehand preparing spiritually, thinking about our journey through the last year, and what we can do to improve ourselves in the year to come.

What are you doing to prepare for the new year?

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