Each year as summer fades into fall, Jewish tradition invites us to turn inward. The month of Elul precedes the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We dedicate this time to preparing ourselves for the holidays so that we can experience them as fully as possible. During Elul we are asked to look into ourselves. We think about who we are and who we want to be. Whose forgiveness do we need in order for us to enter a new year with a clean slate? Judaism offers help for this period of introspection in several ways: The shofar sounds daily, awakening us from complacency; later in the month, prayers of repentance—selikhot—are added to the daily liturgy. Perhaps most important, during Elul, we can support each other through the process of requesting and offering forgiveness with full and open hearts.
Month of Elul
What if we could derive a practice from the story of the King in the field—breathe life into it and into our own souls? How can we, in the midst of our busy, self-conscious lives, find the cozy, loving intimacy with God that is hinted at in this tale?
Jewels of Elul is a project created by Craig Taubman that offers 29 inspirational insights for the month of Elul. The following was the Jewels of Elul theme of 2012.