It is hard to believe that we witnessed a full moon (and a blue moon!) on Friday night! It means that we are in the final weeks of the Hebrew month of Elul, the month that leads us to the High Holydays. The month of Elul is the time to begin the process of teshuvah, the act of making amends for the ways in which we have hurt ourselves, others, and God. Our tradition teaches that the word Elul is an acronym for “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. During Elul we seek to elevate our level of mindfulness in our relationships and look inward at our behavior in the context of those relationships. We peer into the past searching for any trace of wrongdoing so that we may seek forgiveness and attain a new level of wholeness in the relationships most important to us.
When it comes to our relationship with God and our sins therein, the Talmud teaches that we may attain forgiveness through sincere acts of tefillah (prayer) and the giving of tzedakah (giving), both of which signify our dedication to acting differently in the coming year. However, the wrongdoings we commit against another human being can only be absolved through a sincere apology addressed directly to them. Now is the time to make things right! These next few weeks are the time to apologize to those whom we know we hurt and, just as importantly, allow those who have hurt us the opportunity to perform teshuvah by telling them they have hurt us.
My dear congregants, I write these works specifically with our relationship in mind. As your rabbi, I know there is much that has gone right this past year. As we continue to get to know one another I have been able to build positive relationships with many of you. But I also know that I have made mistakes, more than I could possibly know. If I have wronged you in any way over the course of the past year, I implore you to call me or email me so that I may seek your forgiveness and make emends. As your rabbi there is nothing more important to me than the relationships we build in the pursuit of building holiness into our lives together. This cannot happen in any relationship when wounds are left to fester, including ours.
Saying that we are sorry is sometimes the hardest thing in the world to accomplish. However, saying that we have been hurt can also be a daunting task. If we value the relationship, as difficult as it might be to find the words, it is worth the effort.
May these final weeks of Elul lead us to Rosh Hashanah with a clean conscious, renewed relationships, and the energy to add meaning and holiness to our lives.