Today is the second day of Elul. I’m inspired (as are many others) by the writing and teaching that Imabima continues to do, including coordinating #BlogElul once again this year. I’m not quite sure how she has the time and energy to do this, for she is a full-time mom, full-time rabbi, full-time spouse, and (as she said) things are a “bit rough” in her world.
Phyllis (Imabima) provided the prompt of “act” for today’s #BlogElul, and so I decided to finally act and return to posting on this blog. Since I have last posted much has changed in my personal life. I’ve gotten married and given birth to a son. I have remained active on twitter and facebook over the past few years, but left this blog quiet.
Elul is a month for introspection, reflection, improvement, and preparation. Each of these elements requires us to take the time and have the courage to engage with ourselves, to look within, be honest, and do the hard work. It is not easy to do this. Perhaps we can take courage from the opening and closing words of Psalm 27, the Psalm we recite daily during this month:
“Adonai is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear…” and “Be strong and let your heart take courage.”
May each of us have the courage to act and fully engage in the introspection, reflection, improvement, and preparation which will help us be fully ready for the Days of Awe.
We are about to finish the Three Week period of time when many Jews remember the period of time between the breach of the walls of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. Some Jews choose to follow mourning customs during the weeks, restricting entertainment, music, and celebrations. (More information in a My Jewish Learning article.)
This year, for the first time, I have been a personal mourner during these weeks. Mourning the sudden death of my mother-in-law has been a challenge. This loss has been different and harder than any other I’ve experienced. As during previous losses, the rhythms, rituals and concepts of Jewish mourning guide and comfort us.
I’ve felt a bit disconnected with the communal/historical mourning for our losses so many years ago (we mourn not only for the losses of the Temples but many tragedies that befell the Jewish people on and around Tisha B’Av – like the onset of the Inquisition). Perhaps it is that our personal loss is too consuming right now to have a wider perspective. Perhaps it is because handling work, moving, grieving, the “work” that comes with a death, worrying about my husband, and the daily stuff of life is enough. Perhaps it is something else that I haven’t been able to identify yet.
Have you had a similar experience where a personal loss has changed your connection to a communal commemoration or celebration?
I’ve been quiet (too quiet) on the blog lately. Part of the reason is my exciting news – – I am engaged to be married! I met a wonderful, incredible person about a year and a half ago. We began as friends and started dated nine months ago. Now we are engaged and planning a summer wedding.
I continued to be amazed at the wonderful and beautiful gift of falling in love. I am a lucky lucky woman.