#blogelul Guest Post by Cantor Penny Kessler
I'm always grateful when people "like" or comment on my Facebook/Twitter posts, blog posts, and synagogue bulletin articles. But I do wonder if maybe their doing that takes the burden off them of the hard work we do as Jews, especially as we get ready for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It would be as if I "liked" someone's Pinterest-pinned recipe for challah but never made one myself. Yes, I learned something about challah, but I don't have the hands-on experience. Or if someone asked me what a rose smelled like but never stopped on their own to smell the flowers.
A few weeks ago, I saw a mini pack of gum, and I haven't stopped thinking about the imprinted message since then. It struck me as a parent, a cantor and a teacher: I can explain Judaism, prayer, God, teshuvah as I understand them, but I cannot understand it - or do it - for anyone other than myself. Teshuvah is an "inside job;" every person has to do it on her own.
The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with the Selichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I'll be blogging a thought or two for each day to help with the month of preparation... I will be blogging here, and sharing #Elulgram photos on the same themes at imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.