Caterpillar: “…and who are you?”
Alice: “I…I hardly know Sir, just at present – at least I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.”
– Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
We are in the second week of the Hebrew month of Elul, the season of our transformation. It is hard to focus – and for some, hard to accept – the need to change. We procrastinate, not wanting to face ourselves. “Oh we have time – 3 weeks until Rosh Hashanah – and then ten days more until Yom Kippur.” I’ll think about it next week, later, another time.
Confronting ourselves and the errors of our ways is difficult, sometimes painful. We look at relationships in need of repair, we look at mistakes we’ve made – some big, some small – and we look at our apathy at the big issues in our world. So many things need our attention, so let’s start small. Pick one aspect of your life you are going to consider this week, just one aspect. Me? Every year I start at this same place, and this year is no different: patience. Finding patience with others, and patience with myself. I’m working on it, but I’m impatient to master it. Which is why I have to face it year after year.
The Hebrew word for year, shana, actually means to change, to alter. When we say Shana tova, we are saying, “Good change!” What a perfect greeting for the season!
May you change for the good, or do a good job changing. And may you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace.
Rabbi Debbie Israel