Putting the “Oomph” in Elul

I was just looking through my Halachah class from two years ago.  The very first page is from the beginning of the year, which was of course the beginning of Elul, the last month in the Jewish Calendar, a month of introspection and preparation for the year to come.

I remember how Rav Sperling began the class with a honey cake, because, he reasoned, why should you celebrate when something you enjoy is over?

Halachah can be very precise, especially when it comes to aspects of time.  For instance, you must begin the midday Minchah prayer service before shgiah, sunset.  If you’re a second too late, it’s too late.  While ideally you finish the Amidah before shgiah, even beginning a רגע, a moment before shigah, you’re safe.

The month of Elul is that רגע to grab the moment and pause before plowing ahead.

I haven’t been blogging here because all I’ve been doing is plowing and not enough moment-grabbing.  Where did the year ago?  What’s up ahead next?

In terms of Torah learning, my chevruta is over and I’m trying to set up another one.  I also attend a Gemara class each Wednesday.  That, too, is a lot of plowing and not enough personal application (מסכת מכות).  It’s harder than ever to make the time for prayer and introspection, even though I’m reading a terrific book, בשדי יער ע’ש הרב שלומו ערוש   In Forest Fields, by Rav Shlomo Arush, on hitboddedut, personal conversations with Hashem, which he emphasizes should happen at least an hour, every day.  Let me tell you, reading about it is a lot easier than doing it, for reasons of time management and well, that would require having to actually deal with all of my thoughts, feelings and aspirations.

I can think of nothing better to do during the month of Elul.  הגיעה זמן.  It’s time to move forward by sitting in one place.  Stop.  ::Breathe::  Finish the year off with an “oomph”.


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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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