Monday, September 10, 2012

#BlogElul 23: Awakening {Guest Post}

I decided that I would invite friends to do a "guest post" here on Ima on and off the Bima during BlogElul. There were quite a few motivations - 1) writing daily posts on two blogs - whew! 2) encouraging non-bloggers or new bloggers to "get out there" and just do it and 3) to hear from other people! So I hope you enjoy them - there are a number of guest posts coming up in the next two weeks! Yay!

Today's guest post comes from Anita Silvert. Anita is a free-lance Jewish community educator, writer, and blogger. Her love of Jewish learning is met only by her passion for all things Broadway, where life wisdom also resides. Anita and I worked together at OSRUI and I am so happy to welcome her here today!

 I offer thanks to You,
living and eternal Ruler

You have mercifully restored my soul within me;
Your faithfulness is great.

Reciting this prayer is an every-morning practice by many Jews; it is said upon waking up in the morning.  What happens when we wake up?   It is a moment of transition.  We move from one realm to another.  Are we our full selves in either state?  Perhaps it’s the combination of the two that makes us whole.  Perhaps it is when our sleeping state, where our dreams are most in control, and our wakened state, when our minds and bodies take over, is when our soul is at its most alive.  It’s not only restored, but it is restorative.

Our soul is the bridge between sleep and awake.  It is ever-present, yet how often are we aware of it?  How often do we awaken to its presence, its passion, and its power?   But why are we thankful for God’s faithfulness at that moment, and not our own?  Surely it takes faith to be able to lay down and sleep, believing we’ll be waking up again.  

This month of Elul is like we’re setting the alarm clock, getting used to it before starting school again.  The shofar blows every morning to get us used to waking up (not on Shabbat – we get to “sleep in!”) so that by the time we come to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we are ready.  We are ready to be aware of our wakened state.  We’re aware of our failings when we’re awake.  We know where we’ve missed the mark, and we can rededicate ourselves to getting closer next time.  We are awake and ready to ask for forgiveness, even if it isn’t clear we’ll receive it.  

In Elul, we are in transition between the two states of being – sleep, or complacency and wakefulness and awareness of our vulnerability and frailty.  We ask over and over for God’s faith in us to make us worth the effort to restore that soul within us.  

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 Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! 

Leave your blog Elul post in the linky below!

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