The end of summer approaches and yet again we are reminded of how quickly time passes. Our children have returned from camp, many of us are sending our children off to college, and we are anticipating returning to the routine of our busy lives.
We are in the Hebrew month of Elul, the month which precedes Rosh Hashanah. And there is an old tradition which continues to be observed by many: blowing the Shofar each day of this month in anticipation of a new year. And the message of the shofar? It was expressed many centuries ago: “Arise you slumberers from your sleep…and take stock of your lives.”
Yes, this is a time for us to focus upon our priorities and the way in which we used our precious days during this past year, and to yet again resolve that we will strive to live fuller and richer lives in the coming year. It is a time for us to consider the discrepancies between our intentions and our actions; our words and our deeds.
Long ago our sages admonished us to “repent one day before you die.” They had in mind that since we do know the number of our years that each day should be lived as though it might be our last. That we resolve to truly live those priorities and ideals that we profess. That we not waste our days with petty matters and trivial concerns. That we strive for the courage and strength to make our days count for that which is good and enduring.
May we imagine the sounds of the shofar each day, and may those sounds lead us to spiritual and emotional renewal. May they remind us that each day is a precious gift and that we ought to “count our blessings” and make the most of those blessings.
Rabbi David Greenberg