The Month of Elul

The Hebrew month of Elul, which begins on the evening of Tuesday, August 22, initiates our spiritual preparation for the New Year.

During Elul, we explore who we have become this past year and what our words, actions and intentions have brought forth. We notice the ways that we have created connection and have brought beauty, love and well-being into the world. And we acknowledge ways in which we have caused pain and hurt to ourselves and others.

Elul teaches that these explorations are to be done with compassion and care. This month guides us in honest, loving reflection so we can come to the threshold of the New Year able to say Hineni — Here I am — present with myself, my communities and the world.  Hineni, Here I am, ready to step forward and live fully the gifts of a new beginning.

To guide us through this focused period of reflection and preparation, it is traditional to sound the shofar every morning during Elul (except on Shabbat), a literal “wake-up call.” It also is traditional to recite Psalm 27 each day, a psalm that guides us in realigning with the mysterious and awesome unfolding of our lives. Download a PDF of Psalm 27 in Hebrew with a translation by Rabbi Yael.

In addition, we add Mindfulness teachings, meditations and spiritual practices to focus our attention and to guide us in our teshuva, our turning.

This year, A Way In will offer a teaching and suggestions for spiritual practice by Rabbi Yael Levy for each week of Elul, posted here on our web page, on Facebook and Twitter. We also will email the teachings to subscribers of our newsletter on Tuesday evenings. Subscribe to the newsletter.

During the month of Elul, it is traditional to say Psalm 27 each day. Subscribers to the newsletter also receive a free downloadable PDF of the psalm in Hebrew with a translation by Rabbi Yael.