Every year at this time tradition invites us to journey inward to do the important spiritual work of T’shuvah; re-turning to Source. We take measure of our lives to discern what is good and to release or change what is not.
Death and Rebirth are ongoing themes,especially during these Holy Days. The familiarwords ‘Who will live and who will die?’ can be received as a call for us to reflect on our own habits. What is useful and should live on? Have our habits become rote and no longer applicable? Does the challenge that created a specific habit no longer exist? What needs be released andallowed to die?
Individually and as a community, our journey will be an intimate one of discernment and release. Internal space will be created.New dreams, habits and practices will beallowed to manifest. Together, the HighHolidays will be an opportunity to co-create the world for the upcoming year.
Our journey begins now as we look tothe heavens. This is the month of Elul – symbolized by the symbol of Virgo.During Elul we are graced by the feminine presence of Virgo. She is theDivine aspect that rules this month. Thepotency of the Divine Heavenly Mother can help discern what is truly “good” from the illusion of what seems to be “good”. “Matzah Eeshah Matzah Tov; Find a womanand you find Goodness.” Proverbs 18:22. That is to say, when you “Find a woman”, Virgo in the heavens”you find Goodness”, the ability to discern truth from illusion. (Bnay Yisaskhar Elul1)
“Elul” is also an acronym for the Biblical phrase, Ani L’dodi V’Dodi Li – “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” (Song of Songs 2:16) This illustrates the deep love between The Holy One of Blessing and the people that surfaces during this timeof the year. As in the Song of Songs,the nature of Elul is one of Spiritual Intimacy. It is a sweet opportunity for inner work inpreparation for the New Year.
In Elul,”The Ruler is in the field.” (Shabbat 63a) Before “entering the city” the community receives the Ruler in the fields outside the city. At that time, anyone who so desires may meet and greet The Ruler forcoaching, reflection and adjustment. Through these metphors, our Sages hint that the Holy Presence is around and available duringthe month before the HIGH HOLY DAY’s.
A practice, in preparation for the High Holiday work of T’shuvah, is to consider and reflect upon one’s persona lKavanah – Intention. Kavanah is a synthesizer that directs feeling and action. When our focus is set to shift Kavvanah rather than a specific action, then multiple actions are impacted. The specific actions shift naturally as a consequence of a shift in kavvanah.
For example – It is one thing to decide to give up the act ofeating chocolate ice cream, and much deeper and effective to hold theconsciousness and intention of eating healthful foods. What Kavvanah drives your feelings andactions? What shift in kavanah will serve better? Realignment of Kavvanah is a most effectivemethod of T’shuvah.
Elul is anopportunity for the inner work of soul accounting in preparation for the NewYear. Rosh HaShanah; the new year begins with the new month Tishray; designated by the Libra scales. It is a time of weighing in and balancing. May we all be blessed to find the balance, harmony and compassion we seek thisyear. May it be The Will.