The month of Elul offers us the opportunity to prepare in earnest for the High Holy Days to come. Just as a soccer player would never enter the pitch without stretching nor would an actress step on stage without ample preparations, so too must we prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to come. I am always sorry to disappoint, but if you plop down in your seat on Rosh Hashanah and expect to be wowed without putting in the necessary personal preparation, we will do just that!
Jewish tradition is to blow the shofar each non-Shabbat morning to begin the process of waking our souls. In the words of Maimonides: “Awake, you sleepers from your sleep. Arouse you slumberers from your slumber and ponder your deeds; remember your Creator and return to God in repentance. Do not be like those who miss the truth in pursuit of shadows and waste their years seeking vanity. Look well to your souls and consider your deeds; turn away from your wrong ways and improper thoughts.” Whether we hear the shofar blow each morning or undertake these preparations in another way, may we enter this High Holy Day season ready to do the difficult spiritual work to come.
Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer