Preparing for #BlogElul!

#BlogElul graphic

It’s almost Elul again!

I am so excited. One of the absolute highlights of my blogging year is coming up. It’s almost time for #BlogElul!

Every year, my friend Rabbi Phyllis Sommer sets up a schedule for blogging, tweeting and Instagramming (is that a verb?) about the Jewish month of Elul. Elul is the final month of the Jewish year, and at the end of it, we move into the High Holy Day season. It starts with Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, and moves on through Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the joyous holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Imagine having a month’s worth of Christmas and you have some idea of the intensity.

It is traditional to announce the new month (always beginning on the new moon) in synagogue on the Shabbat before the actual date. This, of course, stems from the times that Jewish calendars were not as easily accessible as they are now (this is one I occasionally use).

So, yesterday I listened to our mellifluous cantor as she intoned the traditional words, telling us that the new month of Elul would begin on Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week. It’s a peculiarity of the Jewish calendar that some months have two days of celebration of the new month and some have one. Elul has two, but we count the first day of Elul this year as Wednesday, August 27.

Elul is an interesting month, a month of spiritual and physical preparation for the rigours of the High Holy Day season. We sound the shofar in synagogue every weekday morning, to remind us that the Day of Judgement is coming. We add special Psalms to the morning and evening services. Many people undertake some sort of spiritual journey during the month of Elul, and for me, for the past few years, it has taken the form of #BlogElul.

This year it is particularly poignant, because if you have been following me for any length of time, you remember Superman Sam, the third child of Rabbi Sommer and her husband. Sadly, Sam lost his battle with leukemia in December, and an entire community of Internet people who had never met Rabbi Sommer or her family, including me, wept bitter tears for him.

This year, we are all facing questions about life and death, about love and loss. We will struggle to find words and images to express acceptance, even though we can never hope to understand.

Hang on, friends. It’s going to be a ride. Won’t you join me?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge