Posted on August 26th, 2015
Turn it over and over again.
As I looked up into the night sky last night, I saw that sliver of the Elul moon. Watching it grow, I know that Tishrei cannot be far behind. This is a challenging time for us all. With Tishrei comes, for many of us, the mixed blessing of excitement and pressure involved in kicking off the academic year, our various High Holyday responsibilities, and a host of other pressing items that call for our attention.
I am blessed that each year, at the beginning of Elul, I get to take a “girls’ week” in Laguna Beach with someone very close to me. During this week we leave our work behind (for the most part), let go of the routines and stresses of day-to-day life in order to reconnect, have late night conversations about important things in our lives, walk on the beach, read and laugh a lot.
This time away begins my own Elul process of reflection and rejuvenation. It is a time in which I consider the teachings of Ben Bag Bag in Pirke Avot 5:22, “Turn it, and turn it, for everything is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and gray with it. Don’t turn from it, for nothing is better than it.” What is that “it” that I turn over and over again? It is life. My life. I take the time to reassess my goals and priorities for the year. It is a time to rest and relax in order to shore up for the marathon of work and life and family and blessings that await me at home.
Of course not all of us are able to step away for a week at this time of year. Yet, despite the hustle of this busy time, I hope we are all able to find some moments for rejuvenation. I hope that we will are able to pause and reflect. This is, of course, easier said than done. So I’m wondering, what do you, my colleagues, do to find moments of peace for reflection in these days leading up to the High Holy Days?