Be happy — it’s Elul!
Yes, I know. One is supposed to be happy during the month of Adar, 6 months from now, the month containing the noisy, cross-dressing, drunken holiday Purim when we read how – yet again- they tried to kill us and we not only outsmarted them, but picked up weapons and took vengeance, the same story-telling impulse that allows us to take pleasure in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. More or less.
But I digress. Elul is definitely not Adar. It is a month of deep introspection, a dress rehearsal for the Days of Awe. Each morning we are commanded to hear the blast of the shofar. Wake UP! Deal with your life! That’s the not-so-subltle subtext. Consider what you’d like to do differently in the coming year. Make amends. Try it all over again.
Or maybe it’s really this — Wake UP! Deal with your death. It may come this year or 30 years from now, but it will come and what the hell are you going to do between now and then? Don’t you want to do something to set things right before the Angel of Death appears at your door?
This, friends, is my idea of fun. I’m happy to be pressed up against everything that’s real and true. I invite a regularly scheduled bout of panic and existential angst. Well, not exactly happy. Content.
P.S. If you’re interested in receiving a daily email during the month of Elul with brief “shofar blasts” — meditations, quotations, and other useful bits of information — let me know. Our local Jewish Renewal minyan would be happy to add you to our list.