Tag: month of Elul

I’m Just Fine in Here

 

Many years ago, my husband and I were invited to a small dinner party by friends of ours. We didn’t know the other people who attended, but I had heard of one of them. Her name was Peggy. She was a minister at the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach, CA and was living with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. At this point, she was confined to a wheelchair and was there with her husband. Someone who knew her but hadn’t seen her in a while asked her how she was doing. She answered, speaking with some difficulty, “I’m just fine in here.” I felt her smile and her face was glowing. I was so moved by the peace and joy she had found.

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At this time of year, Jews are preparing for the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. One of my Torah study partners shared that there are many customs that can be practiced in this month of Elul and I wasn’t aware of them, so I did a little homework. Here is part of what I learned :

Will You Forgive Me?

 

The other day I had breakfast with a dear Jewish friend. We were discussing the month of Elul, the month that includes the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. She told me about a time as a child when she told her father she couldn’t think of anyone she had harmed (which is part of Jewish practice at this time of year). Her father looked at her sternly and simply said, “You aren’t perfect. Think about it.”

In Judaism we must ask those we have harmed for forgiveness before we ask G-d to forgive us. Suddenly I realized that I also had given cursory thought to those I might have harmed—and no one initially came to mind. But at breakfast with my friend, family, friends, even Ricochet friends started to appear in my thoughts: a person I had corrected because I felt they’d done something inappropriate; another had done something foolish and I gave her a piece of my mind. The list went on. I realized I had my work cut out for me!