The Real Labor Day

This is a wonderful holiday weekend, a signal that summer has ended and we are in full blast back-to-school-and-work mode.

We have another signal this weekend! 

Sunday is the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul, the month preceding the High Holy Days. Elul is the time we begin our introspection, our spiritual inventory.  As part of that process, we begin asking for forgiveness from anyone we have harmed by our words or by our silence; by our action or by inattention.

Rabbi Alan Lew, of blessed memory, wrote the book that captures the spirit of this month: THIS IS FOR REAL AND YOU ARE COMPLETELY UNPREPARED, The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation.  Rabbi Lew, in writing about preparing for the Holy Days, wrote:

…We might begin by asking ourselves, What are the loose ends in my life?  How is my mind torn?  Where are the places my mind keeps wanting to go?  What is the unfinished business in my life? What have I left undone? When we look out at the world through a torn mind, our experience of the world is torn…Taking a clear look at our lives, we might simply decide that we can’t possibly complete all the unfinished business we’ve set in motion…one of the things we might decide is that we have to simplify our lives.  We have to do fewer things…

This is only the beginning of the process.  The above paragraph is looking at our own interior work.  We have work ahead to do with others, to repairing relationships.  But start by looking within.

Have a safe holiday weekend, a week of blessings, and a Shabbat of peace (Shabbat is the real Labor Day – and you get it every week!)

Rabbi Debbie Israel