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a 10.0

08/12/2021 08:52:32 AM

Aug12

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

We began the month of Elul this past Sunday evening, which positions us in the countdown period that concludes with the 1st of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah 5782. During this concluding month of the year, we add Psalm 27 both morning and evening, and the shofar is sounded at the conclusion of morning services except for Shabbat.

Have you ever gone for a jog, or a bicycle ride, or played a musical instrument? In the first two cases, good common practice is to loosen up a bit before you engage in this physical activity. If you about to play your guitar for example, you would tune it before you begin playing it. We need to do the same thing with ourselves before we engage in the weighty prayers of the High Holy Day season. Our morning services have an introductory section called P’sukei D’zimra, verses of song. It is an anthology comprised of Psalms, other Biblical texts, and prayers, to help us get into the proper frame of mind to engage in prayer with God. So why can’t we do the same thing for the High Holy Days?

We do begin each morning service with P’sukei D’zimra, but they are not enough for the issues that we must ponder during this season. You cannot take your seat without any preparation and wait for the spirit to move you. Just as you should go to your primary care physician for an annual physical, and do the same thing for your home’s HVAC system and your car, you should perform the same careful inspection of yourself, but it is more of an introspection. The list of questions to ponder can seem a bit overwhelming, which is why I shared with the congregation a wonderful resource: a daily journal to help you on your journey towards the New Year, one day at a time. I commend everyone to utilize this carefully constructed outline to help you prepare for the High Holy Days. You can click here for the link:  https://ravjill.com/return2021-download/

I particularly like what Maimonides had to say about the sounding of the shofar in the month of Elul. He described it as our alarm clock, demanding that we wake up from our stupor and focus our energies on our relationship with our fellow human beings and our relationship with God. Since we are human, we are by nature imperfect beings, prone to mistakes. Elul gives us the time to reflect upon the past year, own up to our mistakes, create the proper paths for teshuvah, with the potential to emerge at the conclusion of Yom Kippur as a better version of ourselves. Teshuvah has to be done willingly, as we must recognize that we can always be better, and part of being human is striving to achieve the best possible version of ourselves. Just because we recognize that we can never achieve perfection does not absolve us from trying. We have just witnessed every Olympic athlete strive for that possible moment of perfection, achieving the 10.0 score from all of the judges. Its’ rarity is what makes it so desirable.

What would a 10.0 moment look like for you? How would you feel at the precise moment when you know that you have achieved it? It is possible; you just have to will it. The same for our relationships with our fellow human beings. IT might not be achievable, but imagine what a 10.0 moment with someone else might look and feel like? Elul give us the time to think about that. May you find a 10.0 moment.

Thu, September 23 2021 17 Tishrei 5782