Elul Reflection: 11 Elul 5778

11 Elul 5778
22 August 2018

Diving into the depths, I am surrounded by the deep, silky blue waters that surround me. Comforted by their vastness, I float, weightless, and just am. Slowly, I begin to sense that I am not alone. A school of colourful fish pass to my right and some dislodged seaweed passes over my head. A lone sea turtle frolics to my left and a sting ray lurks below. An eel pops out its head from some coral I didn’t even know was there, and suddenly, I need to breathe. Up I go, venturing to the surface. Confronted simultaneously with the relief of air and the discomfort of the sun’s brightness, I feel disoriented and exposed. Down I return to the comfort of the blue with renewed oxygen and vision, and so I see and feel so much more. I was never alone in the depths, but rather surrounded by colour and life. I float and take note of all that is around me. I swim through the coral and school of fish. I notice a baby turtle swimming after its mother and the hundreds of baby fish swimming in and out of the sea plants. Again, air. Up I go, prepared for the brightness this time. I welcome the sun’s warmth on my face and body and submerge one last time. This time, I venture forth, swimming and stopping, seeing and disappearing, looking outside and looking in. I emerge and am reborn.

The Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days, are a time to submerge ourselves into our unconscious, to notice what is floating around us and to stop and just be. It is a time to embrace the darkness and the colour which paint our lives. It is a time to take stock, move forward, and begin again.

--Rabbi Allison Conyer

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