As we move into the new Jewish month of Elul, we begin preparing ourselves for the upcoming High Holy Days that will usher in the new Jewish year of 5776. During the month of Elul, we will sound the shofar toward the end of each of our weekday morning minyan services. This sound pierces the soul. It reminds us of the essence of our human connection to holiness.
Our weekly Torah portion, Re’eh, meaning “see,” begins with Moses conveying God’s word to each of us as individuals. Grammatically, the Hebrew word Re’eh is in the singular form. But then, immediately, Moses continues conveying God’s word to all of us as a group, saying: Anochi tonen lifneychem I have set before you [plural]…! What has been set before us is the choice of walking in God’s ways and, as a result, increasing blessing the sense of blessing in the world or, not! Given the opportunity, a soul that is true to its essential nature will draw closer to God – the ultimate source of light and of goodness.
Re’eh reminds us that the well-being of each of our individual souls is crucial to the well-being of the community we live in and, indeed, to the well-being of the entire world. Masses of people influence policy and trends. But, individual souls are always at the heart of these processes.
At this very special time of the year, each of us is encouraged to begin some soul searching. This is a wonderful opportunity to re-connect our unique God-given souls with our highest values, with holiness of community, and with the essential holiness of life!
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov [Sabbath Peace and a Good Month]!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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