We are in the Hebrew month of Elul, a month that has great significance for us. Elul is regarded by our sages as a month for introspection as we prepare ourselves emotionally and spiritually for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is the month that summons us to consider where and what we are as we face the opportunity of a new year.
I recall a rabbinic fable that I think has great meaning for us, especially at this time of year. It is told that when Adam was hiding in the Garden of Eden, God called out to him “Where are you?”
This month of Elul calls to us with the same question. “Where are you”as you face the reality of your life?
Where are you in nurturing and living the best that is within you?
Where are you in living the priorities you profess, and the values that you would say are most important to you?
Where are you in doing your part in what we call Tikun Olam? Your part in trying to fix a bit of the brokenness and pain that we can see all around us.
And for those with children still at home, and I suppose for all of us with children, regardless of age: Where are we in giving them, not the best of things, but the best of ourselves?
Yes, honest self-reflection is hard. And maybe that’s why our sages dedicated a whole month for just that purpose. To renew our striving to live the best that is within us: that is the intent of this month of Elul. For me, and I hope for you.