Sunday, August 11, 2013

Time For Self Evaluation

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                

Like Native Americans and Muslims, Jews have always relied on the moon and its movements to tell time. A lunar calendar, the oldest known type of calendar,  is used today to determine holidays.   "From very early times, the Mesopotamian lunisolar calendar was in wide use by the countries of the western Asia region. The calendar , which was also used by the Israelites, was based on lunar months with the intercalation of an additional month to bring the cycle closer to the solar cycle."  We have already left the month of Av and Elul started on last Wednesday, the 7th of August, which was celebrated as Rosh Hodesh, or the new moon which is the head of the new month.

We are starting to think of the next big holiday period called The High Holy Days that come in Tishrei -Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and that is followed by Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  Though they will come next month, our repentance begins now.

The Jewish belief is that we as individuals as well as nations and the whole world are judged on Rosh Hashanah.  By Yom Kippur, their fate for the year is sealed.  In Elul, we begin a self-examination to "get right with G-d."

"The Hebrew letters that make the word “Elul,” aleph, lamed, vav and lamed, are an acronym for the phrase (from the biblical Song of Songs) ani l’dodi v’dodi li, which means “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.”
This beautiful and romantic phrase is that which represents our relationship with our Creator, which is often paralleled to that of a husband and wife, a bride and groom, in our individual lives."

Repentance in Hebrew is teshuvah, which means to return.  If we commit a sin, we are distancing ourselves from G-d.  When we follow his will, this brings us nearer to G-d.   So we are to take inventory of who we are, what we've done, and what we need to do and ask ourselves the hard questions.  What do we need to atone for?  Do we have talents we haven't used?  How about our personality?  What do we need to work on this year?

In very ancient days, a subject could go to visit his king but had to have an appointment.  He'd have to go to his castle, wait at the gate, go through many chambers and finally he would be taken to the throne room.  In Elul, the King is in his fields and is more accessible.  So G-d is the king in the fields at this time as he has come to his subjects and is waiting for us.

Repentance is something we should be doing all the time to improve, which we all need to do.  This is the time to jump start and finish what needs to be done before the new year.

When Rosh Hashanah rolls around at sundown on Wednesday, September 4th, we say that this is the birthday of the world, the day G-d finished the creation of our world by creating Adam.  Each Rosh Hashanah,  G-d reconsiders and re-evaluates the quality of our relationship with Him, and creates our world anew.

If we are found worthy, we are "inscribed" in the "Book of Life." on Yom Kippur which is 10 days later at sundown,   Friday, September 13,  the Book is sealed.  Our repentance, prayers and charity can sweeten the decree and earn g-d's blessings for health, well-being and prosperity for the coming year, 5773 according to the Hebrew Calendar or 2013 by the Gregorian calendar.



  1. Now that we are in the month of Elul and the "KING is in the field" I thought Monday night where do I need to Teshuva? Well, I have a list. I started today with a particular issue which shall remain nameless to social media. AS we welcome the Fall Festivals and the layers of meaning...what better thing to do. I cannot think of anything.