Preparing for Shalom

The High Holy Days are Coming! The High Holy Days are Coming!

It has a been a week. High Holy Day preparations are ever-increasing in urgency and yet we found the time to stop and look at the sun. With the proper glasses, of course.

Friday morning I attended the weekly shvitz minyan, which is gentle yoga/stretching with Hebrew chanting and learned something rather lovely.

Friday was the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul is the month of spiritual preparation for the High Holy Days and is beautifully summarized by a verse from Song of Songs. You see, the letters that spell out Elul are an acronym for a verse from the Song of Songs 6:3: "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li" or "I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me". [which comes pretty close to an accurate Hebrew translation of my church's motto: "love. be loved."]

The above card was made by the rabbi who led the shvitz class. At the bottom you can see the word elul in Hebrew (read right to left and yes, the lameds look a  bit like l’s don’t they?) And yes, it's propped up against a bowl of lentils. I learned that calming technique from a priest who used to be at my church. (*waves at Rebecca*)

Rabbi said she learned that you have to start the month of Elul with the "ani" (I am hopefully not misquoting her), the "I" before being able to be for the beloved. Elul is about bringing oneself back into relationship with God. I see this as bringing wholeness, or shalom, to one's self. 

The weekly shvitz (which is Yiddish for sweating!) is one way of self-care, something I am ever so slowly getting better at making part of my week. Regular haircuts are another way of self-care because I used to not care for my hair at all. I mean, yes, I washed and combed it. I despaired of finding anyone being able to cut my curls properly. But I've found somebody close by and it's been a joy. 

The month of Elul wraps up September 20th, the night before Rosh Hashanah and the Jewish new year. I’ll be taking the time (a) madly preparing for the High Holy Days; and (b) bringing shalom to myself and to my relationship with God. The goal being to go deeper than stretching my muscles and keeping my curls in good shape.

This means I may be taking the month off from blogging the lectionary because that is a LOT of work to prepare, mull over and write.

How will you bring wholeness to yourself?


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