Writing in our own Book of Life

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, August 22, 2018

Dear Fellow Solelniks,

We are now halfway through the month of Elul, and are turning our hearts and minds toward the New Year ahead. As we turn we find blessings and gratitude for the year that is now ending, finding appreciation for the joy and love that we have experienced. And we recognize the pain and challenges that we have encountered, and the hurts we may have caused to others or have brought to our own selves. We make this cheshbon hanefesh, this journey of the soul so that we may meet with clarity and openness all that the New Year brings, with all of our mind, heart and soul.

The practice for Elul includes hearing the sounds of the Shofar and reciting the words of Psalm 27 each day. The most well-known verse (Psalm 27:4) chanted in synagogues and in homes during the 51 days from Elul through Sukkot awakens our longing for return, to reconnect, to find our way home:

אַחַת, שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת-יְהוָה- אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ:
שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה, כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי;
לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם-יְהוָה, וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ.

Achat sha’alti me’eit Adonai, otah avakesh
Shivti b’veit Adonai, kol y’mei chayay
Lachazot b’noam Yah, u’l’vaker b’heikhalo

One thing I ask of the Infinite,
One thing I seek,
To dwell in the Sacred Presence all the days of my life.
To awaken to the beauty of each moment
As I pass through this world.
Translation by Rabbi Yael Levy

As we focus our soul’s journey at this time of year, what it is that we are seeking? What does it mean for us to dwell in the Sacred Presence? To awaken to the beauty of each moment? Where have we become disconnected, disengaged?

This year is 5779, תשע״ט. The letters that form the number 79 are עט, ayin tet. In Hebrew an eit is a pen, a writing implement with ink. As the new year begins we have the opportunity and challenge to write the answers to these questions in our own personal book of life. In this new year 5779 may we find what we are seeking, may we be awakened to the beauty of each moment. And may we find the path of return, renewal and wholeness as we become conscious of our dwelling in the Sacred Presence.

Shanah Tovah U’Metukah!

Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

Filed under: Rabbi's Message

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