Depending on when you read this, the Hebrew month of Elul will soon begin or has already begun (actually sundown, Tuesday, August 26). The days of this Hebrew month are the “countdown” days before the High Holy Days. During Elul, we are instructed by our Sages of old to begin our preparations for the Yamim Noraim, which are literally the “Days of Awe” of the High Holy Day season.
One of the ways we prepare our souls for these days is to do a spiritual checkup – to look at our behavior during the past year and consider self-corrections. One person posted the question on Facebook: “where to begin?” I will make it easy for her, and for you: let’s start with arguably the most common activity most of us engage in – lashon harah, literally “evil tongue”, meaning gossiping and especially spreading falsehoods. During these days, let us be conscious of how tempted we are to talk about other people, and let us use these days to practice holding our tongues as our first step of teshuvah, repentance, during this holiday season.
Now that it is Elul, may I be the first to greet you with: Shana Tovah.
May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace,
Rabbi Debbie Israel