April 18, 2024 /

A Fresh Start – September 2023

I think it is safe to say that many of us feel as though from last High Holy Days until this one, the world has become more complicated. There is this sense of chaos and urgency that is being felt across our country and it is easy to feel swept up into those feeling. Now is actually when we need the High Holy Days and the month of Elul the most.

The month of Elul is meant to be more than a place holder for us before Rosh Hashanah. It is meant to help jar us from our routine ways, our diversions, and distractions so that we can see old things anew. Elul is meant to help us find the sacred in what we relegated to mundane – to return to sacred living.

I remember very clearly, as a child, going to my rabbi and asking him how I can help change the world. He told me that there once was a man who tried to change the world and he set out one day to do so. After trying to no avail, he decided that he was aiming to high so he instead tried to change his country, but nothing happened. Then he tried to change his town and again left disappointed. Next, he tried to change his family and again was defeated. It was only when he was able to change himself that he was able to impact his family which impacted his community which worked together to make a better country. I think every culture or faith has a story like this one.

I want to encourage all of you to use this time to start looking inward so that each one of us may become the change we wish to see in the world. May these High Holy Days help us all to find sacred and productive ways to respond to the world events, to interact with one another, and to help make this world a place worthy of God’s presence.

I look forward to seeing you all soon.