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Temple Israel of Scranton

Temple Israel of Scranton

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Rosh Hodesh Elul 5780

Posted on August 21, 2020

Rosh Hodesh Elul 5780
August 21st 2020
Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer

חשבון הנפש

The other day I referred to the month we were concluding as Tammuz rather than as Av. I realized my mistake immediately and laughed at my Freudian slip. Today is Rosh Hodesh Elul. There is no getting around it. Rosh HaShanah is coming. One month from tonight.

This morning we heard the sound of the shofar for the first time this year, calling to us, telling us to pay attention. The month of Elul, leading up to Rosh HaShanah is a time for us to search our souls and examine our hearts. This process is known as חשבון הנפש heshbon ha-nefesh. It is our chance to examine our choices and to assess our values. It is our opportunity to ask for forgiveness and to make amends. We can ask ourselves: which grudges are worth it to us to keep and which would we be better without?  Who among our family and friends have we not spoken to in a long time and we would like to reach across the miles and touch base?  What is one mitzvah we would like to add to our regular routine?

In this year that is like no other,  when we have the time and space to do so, may we use Elul, may we really use Elul, for our חשבון הנפש heshbon ha-nefesh.

B’vrakhah, מרים
Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer