This time of the year is an especially auspicious one in the Jewish World. It is time of the year that on the one hand, I love and on the other, it instills a feeling of absolute fear within.
Why, you may wonder, do I juxtapose these two opposite feelings together?
Well on the one hand, the Southern Hemisphere is leaving the cold of winter behind and is moving on toward beautiful spring. This seasonal change is a subtle reminder that the time has come to start making a change. This entails doing the task of introspection and making “the” attempt to improve ourselves. It is this part that I love and fear. Realizing the good and more so the bad actions that I have committed or played a part in over this past year…
Elul, which is the final month of the Jewish Calendar brings along with it the blowing of the Shofar or Rams Horn. It is a piercing cry – a wake-up call that tells us that Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur – (The Jewish New Year and the Days of Atonement) are coming closer and so we need to rectify our mistakes and change our ways.
This piercing cry of the Shofar (a rams horn blown every morning after Prayers) wakes us from our usual apathetic slumber of normality and jolts us into taking real action!
Unfortunately, for many of us, our wake-up call, came a little earlier and more painfully this year as I’ve seen people close to me pass away – young and old – some leaving families and small children behind.
This year, in the space of three months, I was shattered to lose my gran, a close friend from overseas and a cousin.
After their passing, I began to think. I started to realize that over the course of this year, I have been slowly slacking off in my morning Prayers and a little in my Religious studies and maybe even a little on my kindness to those around me too.
These painful losses have woken me and made me realize that it is time to act; it is time to wake up and start thinking. It is time to do a little more Jewish Studies, time to act kindly and respectfully to those around me, time to appreciate and maybe even time to Pray harder – not just for this month but all year round so that we do not have to experience such a wake-up call like this again… To often we go through life in an automatic mode without giving much thought to our actions. My mission for Elul and the Days of Atonement – to change this!
Sometimes it is scary, when we have to look into ourselves and we realize that we have to rectify those things that need some fine tuning or improvement. Although, it can sometimes be a very daunting task – which, I might add, should be done carefully and in a step-by-step process – it is worth it in the end because we become better people for it!
So to all my readers I ask; look inside yourself, make the first step to being the improvement; do a good deed, give someone a smile, give a little charity, be kind to those around you, and especially appreciate the ones you love.
You never know what life has in-store.
Remember: the tinniest of good deeds can go a very long way – just think about the “Pay it Forward” idea: a small deed which travelled far and wide in a short time. Something that we can set our minds to and something we can both actualise and internalise if we make the right choices.
On this note may we only hear of peace and happiness from here on and out!
Through our merits and good thoughts, may these special souls be elevated to the highest level and may we all be written in the book of good and the book of life!