Here we are in the month of Elul leading up to the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Elul is a sanctum for introspection and self-assessment as we conduct a full Cheshbon Ha Nefesh, an accounting of the soul. During Elul we separate from our material entanglements to audit our spiritual accounts and restore our desire for true teshuvah, repentance.
In the Hebrew Bible, Moses ascended for the second time to the top of Mount Sinai on the first of Elul to plead for forgiveness for the Israelites because of their worship of the Golden Calf. He remained there for 40 days and created the second set of tablets of the Ten Commandments.
Allocate time during this month for personal reflection, meditation and prayer. Listen to the sounding of the shofar as a call to repentance. Read the Psalms, particularly Psalm 27. Visit the burial place of your loved ones. As the month draws to an end, add Selichot prayers that include the 13 Attributes of Mercy, the very words of the Israelites used to beg for divine compassion.
Twenty-Seven A Song of Morning
Let me slide into the morning, Dawn Bringer,
With a smooth joining.
In the last glimpse of dreams,
Open my heart to a day
Poised to fill with goodness.
Let me move into today, Time Maker,
With a firm footing.
With Your name upon my mouth,
I translate my praises into action,
Repairing my section of the world.
You recall to me my story;
You let me describe its sequel.
At day’s beginning, You comfort me,
Offering a Hand filled with courage
To sustain my work.
Let me glimpse tomorrow, Eternal Planner,
With eager memories.
Breathing deeply to set my heart
To the rhythm of creation,
I continue Your work.
You bring me to my beginnings,
To the beginnings of Your People,
Connecting my days to all other days,
Tying my work in the work of Your hand.