Chodesh Tov, Happy Elul. Actually, when it comes to this special month of Elul, we should probably greet each other with a more introspective blessing, such as - Have a reflective month, but somehow, we don't see that catching on, so have a good and healthy Elul! .
This is a very exciting time of year for us, as a bubbling and bustling people. This is when we temporarily put aside the last 500 years of being world leaders in technology and innovation, and we resume our ancient acts of preparing for the highest of holy days.
The month of Elul is like the ramp leading to the highway; you mount it to build up speed before joining the rest of the fast vehicles. Joining the highway without the ramp, means being unprepared. Thus is the role of Elul in the jewish calendar. This month is meant to prepare us for the high holidays. Summer vacation is at its peak, our thoughts are all over the place, we're as unprepared for Rosh HaShanah at the beginning of Elul as a parked car, if we're still using the previous, highway metaphor.
When summer vacation meets Elul, our mind shifts gears. We slow down, we start looking ahead towards Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, which directly leads us to that inward gaze, reflective state of mind which joins these last days of summer.
It's not just among our people, that the end of summer means slowing down and checking in on ourselves. The jewish calendar is wisely associated with the changing seasons, making this shift from pools and sprinklers to books and blazers feel even more natural and predetermined.
During Elul we say selichot, each sect according to their own customs. Whether it's the entire month or just the week of. Selichot are one of the ways to help us prepare our souls for that yearly reset that is Yom Kippur.
Elul is when we start preparing, we have a whole month's time to reflect, listen to Torah lessons, say selichot and cleanse our souls towards Rosh HaShanah. While Rosh HaShanah is a high and holy day, it is yet more preparation for the highest of days, Yom Kipper. Our day of atonement, which we spend more than a month preparing for, is the fastest point on the highway. We can't just land there, we need to build ourselves towards it.
We each have our own way of preparing for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and those are usually very personal ways, built upon what we learned at the house where we grew up in, at the schools we went to, and what we picked up from the people in our lives. Our soul is a layered home for all of our life's lessons. Just hearing the word Elul brings afloat messages of reflection and forgiveness into our minds.
We each take very different measures to strengthen our soul towards the high holidays. The introspective processes of reflection are many and complex. While it's often very difficult to help a loved one prepare internally, it's fairly easy to prepare externally. We strongly believe that while internal discussions are being held, a gift from the heart could lighten the spirit and make someone we care about feel cherished, thus helping them remember what's good about this world, and especially about themselves. It's much easier to love ourselves when others love us, isn't it? So since it's a bit out of our reach to help our beloved patrons look deep into their souls, we want to help by shedding the light of love on the whole general area.
We've compiled a wonderful list of items to make yourself or the people around you smile with the special season. The Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur category is full of great options, and we'd like to share a few popular ones:
The Mishkan HaNefesh machzor for the days of awe is a great prayer book for those experienced in practicing and those who are new to it. It's fully transliterated and contains rich commentary drawing from Jewish tradition. We're sure that when asking yourself 'who's like to get this gift', at least a few names come to mind.
Get your Rosh HaShana table ready with this trending apple and honey plate that comes with a brass dipper. Be the cool kids this Rosh HaShana while you wish your loved ones a sweet and blessed year. The red plate is perfect for either apple or challah, whatever you like to dip in your honey. And if you choose to use it around the year for any kind of cool serving, we promise not to tell.
It's not always easy to find the right calendar, which shows Hebrew and Gregorian dates, with shabbat lighting times, fast start and end times, AND a fun look. That's why we're offering this Jewish Art Calendar By Mickie, which contains 16 months starting this Elul and all the way to the next Tevet, so you'll have plenty of time to get your next calendar before it finishes. The illustrations on this beautiful decorative calendar deserve a spot on the wall all on their own.
If you care about your honey, you know it doesn't appreciate being left open, and it certainly doesn't like not getting the respect it deserves. Honey has its standards, and we recommend you have a look at this fun honey pitcher which is guaranteed to keep your honey happy. This unique item can also make a wonderful gift idea, in case you're the guests this year.
Looking for a high quality shofar? Let us just leave this excellent yemenite piece right here, and let it speak for itself. But just in case it's being shy, let us tell you that this twisty yemenite shofar has a sharp and clear sound. The yemenite shofar makers pride themselves as keeping the same traditions as were used in biblical days.
Looking for more fun ways to care for yourself and others? Browse through the complete category of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.
We wish you a good year, full of health, love and laughter. Shanah Tovah!