Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elul 16: Things to Remember in Elul

Another name for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is Yom ha-Zikaron, the day of remembrance, as remembering is one of the major themes of the holiday. On those days, we try to remember God, and we hope that God remembers us.

Doesn't it make sense, however, to start remembering the important things now, as a sort of warm-up? We are now half-way through the month of Elul, and we have been blowing the shofar every morning to help awaken our memories.

As such, here are a few things to recall as Elul heads into the final stretch:

Synagogue sounds from the High Holidays - the melodies, the shofar, the mumbling of prayers, the silent, holy moments, the qol demamah daqqah (still, small voice).

Gathering of family for holiday meals, attending synagogue, and so forth.

The particular heft of the High Holiday mahzor / prayerbook.

The Torah readings of the day, including the story of the Aqedah, the binding and near-sacrifice of Isaac at the hands of his father, Abraham.

The custom of throwing away our sins at the tashlikh ceremony.

And, of course, there are the good and not-so-good things we have done in the past year, of which we should also be taking note. Perhaps these remembrances will help us to remember two weeks from now, when it counts.

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