Feeling Elul’s pull

(Picture found here)

Am I feeling it?  Sort of.

For those who attempt to grow closer to Hashem and work on their Avodah these weeks of Elul, before Rosh Hashana have a momentum of their own.

Part of me doesn’t want to accept the responsiblity that it’s actually Elul.  It’s time to come to terms with all that I haven’t done during the past year, the wasted potential.  Still, part of me loves this time of year.  I remember phone calls and conversations with my mother-in-law a”h during this time of year.  She would always quote the Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (the first Lubavitcher Rebbe) and say, “The King is in the field”.

I often think of the words of the Alter of Slabodka:
We come now from the material vacation to the spiritual vacation: From the months of Tammuz and Av in the forests and the fields to the months of Elul and Tishrei in the house of the yeshiva. What distinguishes that vacation from this vacation? We know, of course, that just as that vacation is essential to fortify the body, so too this other one is necessary to heal the soul. Even more so, for all are sick vis a vis Elul…” as written in the diary of R Avrohom Eliyahu Kaplan z”tl (available here).

It’s the realization that I must come to terms with many things and the excitement of rebirth.  While people are planning out their Yom Tov meals, others are already looking out for the simanim, and still others are quietly jotting down their own Chesbon HaNefesh.  I’m somewhere in between “going from day to day” and “getting ready to face the King”.

It’s that gravitational pull of Elul.  It is inescapable and it calls me.  And like Shabbos, which I can’t imaging how I survived prior to keep it, I can’t image what my year would be like now, without an Elul.

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