Welcome back! I pray that all had the opportunity to relax and recharge a bit over the summer.
As we get back to work, hopefully at least somewhat refreshed, it is worthwhile noting that this September is anomalous in that is contains no Jewish holidays. But this is not to say that September is devoid of Jewish content – and significant Jewish content at that.
We are in the Hebrew month of Elul, the 6th month of the Hebrew calendar. It is the preparatory month before the beginning of the New Year (5777), before the High Holidays, before the period of ‘repentance and return.’
I am reminded of the just recently ended Olympics, some of the events of which I enjoyed viewing with great excitement and anticipation. I admired not only the breathtaking excellence on display, but also the awe-inspiring time, effort, and energy the athletes invested to prepare to be the best for their competitions.
In a way, this is what Elul is about. Jewish law and tradition have us spend the month of Elul preparing – investing time, effort, and energy – to do and be our best for the profound tasks of introspection, self-assessment, and betterment. One cannot engage in such demanding tasks and expect to do well without putting in the preparatory work, and then doing our very best when the moment comes.
As we get back to work, I wish for each of you a successful month of serious and meaningful preparation for events – the coming holidays – next month.