This year, the Hebrew month of Elul begins September 1 — a nice coinciding of the secular and Jewish calendars. I think of Elul as a kind of pumping-the-brakes on the freewheeling expansiveness of summer; even though it’s usually still warm outside, Elul is a whispered reminder: Fall is coming. Slow down. Get a little quieter. And begin turning inwards.
Why? Because there is work to be done.
It’s tradition to dedicate the 29 days of Elul to reflection, study, and preparation for the coming Days of Awe. Elul challenges us to use each day to re-connect with our values and attune to the yearning of our souls.
Conceptually, the idea is noble, but acting on it is a bit more challenging. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
Learn more about Elul from Rabbi Yael Ridberg at Reconstructing Judaism
Psalm 27 (“Achat Sha’alti”) is traditionally recited every morning in Elul. Here’s Rabbi Brant Rosen’s interpretation of Psalm 27
Listen to a special episode from the Judaism Unbound podcast, Unbounding Elul
Here’s a simple calendar that helps you set a single intention for Elul and track it throughout the month
Thinking ahead? Sign up now to receive a daily email prompt for reflection during the 10 days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur
Is your favorite part of the High Holy Days the music? Here are 2 new niggunim we’ll be using this year – you can get a head start on learning them by clicking the links below:
Micah Shapiro’s Hashiveini
The Klezmatic’s interpretation of Shnirele Perele