#ExploreElul 20: Awaken
Today’s topic is Awaken and today’s post is from Jamie Field, 2nd year rabbinical student at HUC.
I have three modes of waking up in the morning. Sometimes, when I have a particularly exciting day ahead (like my birthday, or the first day of school), I can jump out of bed, hop in the shower, and begin my day full steam ahead. Sometimes, I’ll wake up anxiously, grab my laptop from next to my bed and immediately check all of my emails, stressed about what I could’ve missed in my 8 hours of sleep. Other times, I have a lazy morning and stay in bed for a couple of hours before I decide what snack is going to convince me it’s worth leaving the blankets.
The month of Elul, which is the Hebrew month leading up to the Days of Awe, give us a chance to metaphorically wake up in all of these ways. As we reflect over the past year, we have the opportunity to jump out of old habits right away, and immediately prepare for ways to grow and learn as we strive to become our best selves. Other times, thinking of the things we have said or done can cause anxiety. I often have to remind myself that it’s alright to sit in that anxiety, to recognize the things I have said or done that I regret. Being uncomfortable can give us a chance to truly come to terms with our actions, and that can kickstart a path to change. Reflecting on the past is also an opportunity to think of the things we have done right and what ways we want to continue being the person we are before. We’re all full of dichotomies, good and bad, right and wrong, and acknowledging the good we have done in the past year can help propel us into doing more good in the coming year.
If Rosh Hashanah is the official start to the day, Elul is changing from pajamas into clothes and getting ready. Waking up on some days is harder than other days, but, luckily, Judaism allows us to have an entire month to prepare for a meaningful year ahead.
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