Torah Tidbits

How Was Your Summer?

Shabbat Parashat Ki Tetsefeatured-rabbi

September 5, 2014 – 11 Elul 5774

Dear Friends,

It’s back to school time.  Traffic patterns adjust to school buses.  Parents adjust to school schedules.  Children and students move forward into a new year.   Despite the heat wave we have been experiencing, we cannot help but realize that the end of summer is near.

And, the most natural of questions we ask one another as we meet people we have not seen in a while is:  How was your summer?

The reply is often a list of things we did, places we went, adventures we experienced, reports on our children’s activities, and possibly a list of books we read.

As Jews, the month of Elul, coinciding with the end of summer, invites us to respond to the question from the depths of our souls!    We are encouraged to devote the month of Elul to exploring who we are, who we have become, and who we would like to be in the coming year.  How was your summer?   Indeed, how was your year?   We have a month to ponder the question.

The significance of having a month to ponder our place in the world is highlighted by a piece of Torah in our weekly Torah portion of Ki Tetse.   This piece of Torah explores the process which an Israelite soldier who falls in love with a captive woman and wants to marry her must follow, before taking her as his wife.   Part of the process envisioned by Torah is the requirement that the woman be given an entire month to cry and to adjust to the dramatic changes in her life.  The mystics imply that this month reminds us of the month of Elul, in which we are given the opportunity to contemplate the changes that have taken place in our lives not only over the past summer, but also over the past year in its entirety.

When someone asks us the inevitable question: How was your summer?  Let us take a moment to contemplate our lives and to notice the changes that are part of our particular, individual and unique paths.  It is from moments like these, that new energies are garnered, new directions are revealed, and new opportunities are welcomed!

So, now I am asking…How was your summer????  And, I welcome your responses!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror