Elul Reflections: 27 Elul 5777

The High Holy days, the Yamim Noraim are filled with so much symbolism.  Beginning with the long-standing and potentially the most important symbol, that of the shofar, and ending with the all-encompassing Torah on Simchat Torah, we enjoy these days in their richness, their solemnity and their joy and at times, frivolity.  We manoeuvre ourselves between the symbols, sometimes effortlessly and at times with dedication and concentration.  When the shofar is sounded throughout Elul, are we not waiting in excited anticipation of the grandeur of the New Year and Day of Atonement?  When we eat the honey drenched apples and challah, are we not filled with optimism for a sweet and full round year?  And, when we refrain from eating and only dress in white on Yom Kippur, are we not in awe of the fragility of life and our humanity?  This theme continues with the unstable sukkah we eat a meal in.  But ultimately, it ends where we always begin.  It ends and then begins once again with Torah.  A symbol that has endured with strength, integrity, challenge, history and God.  Sh'ma Yisrael  (Listen Israel)... the High Holy Days are upon us.  Let us celebrate, pray and find meaning in these Days of Awe.

--Rabbi Kim Ettlinger

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