Sunday, August 24, 2014

Introducing Earth Etudes for Elul 5774

Tueday evening the month of Elul begins, the month that leads us up to the first day of the new year, Rosh HaShanah 5775. The sun rises and sets, again and again, and with each cycle we get a day older, with each cycle the world brings pain and joy, anger and delight, frustration and calm, fear and trust. Soon those days will have added up, and we will be a year older than the last time we ate apples and honey together.

We ask: How have I changed? What have I done? What do I wish I had done? What do I hope to do in the future? How has the world changed? How did I impact the world? How do I want to impact it? 

It is time for heshbon hanefesh, examining our hearts and souls, determining where we've been and what we've done and what we wish to do better in the future. It is time for teshuvah, turning and re-turning to G!d. It is time for us to begin to make atonement for the things we wish we had or hadn't done, and renewing ourselves, to do all we can to get ourselves to change.

To aid us on our journey, Ma'yan TIkvah is once again offer you a series of Earth Etudes for Elul for most of the days of the month of Elul. Each of the Etudes connects in some way to the Earth and to teshuvah, reminding us that we cannot disconnect ourselves from all that surrounds us, reminding us that we are part of an intertwined whole that is so incredibly diverse and rich and amazing, reminding us that we are not alone. And since this coming year, 5775, is a shmitah year, the one year in seven that the Torah commands that we let the Earth rest, our debts be forgiven, and our relationships renewed in special ways, some of our writers will focus on this Shabbat year for the Earth.

As you journey through the month of Elul, may you go from strength to strength, and may you find new ways to be in relationship to yourself, your loved ones, the Earth, and the One Source of All.

Chodesh tov - have a good month.

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

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