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Friday, August 06, 2004

Preparing for Elul

The month of Elul begins on August 18th. Elul is a month of deep spiritual introspection in preparation for Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur. Because Elul falls in the summer, we sometimes fail to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities for growth available.

Here is an excerpt from Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller's excellent article Three Steps to Genuine Change:

In the course of our lives, we close doors to higher and deeper selves and sometimes forget that we, too, are more than earners, spenders, and travelers through life. Our thoughtless enslavement to mindless routine can leave us without much of a relationship to our souls. In a materialistic society, it is all too easy to view others as competitors. As toddlers we observed that when you have three cookies and give one away, all you have left are two. From that point onward we are afraid to give.

The problem is that the soul, unlike the body, thrives on giving, and on the love that is its offspring.

We also tend to become so self-involved that the God we all intuitively knew as children (children almost always believe in God, unless they are taught not to) becomes more and more removed from our moment-to-moment consciousness. We act as though we are more than mere creations. This alters our sense of dependency on the Creator and the concomitant realization that we are beloved recipients of endless free gifts. We end up amoral, with no one to account to for our lives. Like the child in Newsweek, we don't know where we are or who we could be.