Monday, August 29, 2011

Blogging Elul 5771 – Day 1

Last year I set out the ambitious goal of blogging every day during the month of Elul. Elul, for those who are not familiar, is the last month of the Hebrew calendar leading up to Rosh Hashanah and the start of the new Jewish year.
Traditionally we sound the shofar every morning, except on Shabbat helping to prepare ourselves ritually, spiritually, and emotionally for one of the most challenging part of the year.

The overarching theme during Elul through Yom Kippur (though some argue through Shemini Atzeret which is a one day festival at the end of Sukkot), is that of teshuvah. Teshuvah is often defined as repentance, though a return of the ways of Godliness is a better translation.

The question is, why do we spend so much time and emphasis on Teshuvah? One of the possible reasons is because change is hard. I often say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, because we as human beings usually keep doing what we have always done. To really change ourselves, to break out of bad habits, and to set new life goals is a constant struggle. And when faced with doubt, uncertainly, stress and the like, we more often than not, revert to past patterns.

Thus I think this year I will focus on the ideas of how we can change ourselves for the better as individuals, as members of family, and as members of a community.
Down the road, I’ll lay out some of my ideas for my own changes and transformations, but in the meantime, what are some of your goals?

In the meantime, you can also follow some of the links to my fellow bloggers who are also blogging Elul as well.


Phyllis Sommer said...

change *is* hard. This year I realized that no matter how flexible I like to believe I am, I am totally change-averse. I'm working on that...slowly :-)

Rabbi Sharff said...

I have the same problem. I find I keep making the same promises, the same changes and then reverting back to my old ways. Sigh ... time to get started again