HIGH HOLY DAY MESSAGE
A few years ago I taught a seminar for engaged couples. One evening, we talked about picking a wedding date. Couples spoke about pressures from family, their hopes to find a convenient date for out-of-town guests, and the difficulty of booking desirable venues on Saturday evenings. As the conversation progressed, one woman, looked over to me and asked, “Rabbi, when according to Judaism should we get married?” My answer: “Right before the High Holidays.”
While the weeks leading up to the High Holidays is a pulpit rabbi’s “busy season” with sermons to prepare and services to orchestrate, we must also make time for weddings because, as I explained to the group, the month prior to the High Holidays, Elul, is indeed special. Our tradition teaches that the Hebrew letters that spell Elul --the aleph, lamed, vav, and lamed-- serve as an acronym for the biblical affirmation of love: I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Ani l’dodi v’dodi li. This passage, from the Song of Songs, is the ultimate expression of love, and provides a perfect poetic backdrop for a wedding date.
And the message of Elul can be felt by us all. In this month of Elul, with Ani l’dodi vdodi li in mind, we can realize that the best way for us to prepare for our holiest season, the High Holidays, is by refocusing on our relationships with others. By reaching out to family and friends during Elul, we prepare to reach up towards God during the High Holidays.
The message of Elul will guide us as a community as well. We want to deepen our relationship with you! And we hope to help facilitate the deepening of your relationships with other households in our community.
The message of Elul resounds like the blasts of the shofar. And may this month of Elul, and the High Holidays that follow, be one of many that we share in celebration together.