In helfman, Our Virtual Mishkan

How do I Prepare for the High Holy Days this Year?

שִׁוִּיתִי יְה’ לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד
I set Eternity before me always – Psalm 15:8

Leaves of unpublished manuscripts lay piled around me, and I rake them aside to find the grounded sanity of a bare desk.

Closed off for so long, I spend much of my day in a store-room turned mikdash me’at (small sanctuary) in my basement.

Now, as the weather cools, it is time to begin my preparation through the month of Elul. To turn into myself and beckon in a New Year in the unfolding of Eternity.

First, from down these stairs, I will listen to the Shofar blast in Elul, in this month leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Born out of clenched lips, the sound is compressed from its open freedom into a wire 3.5mm of thick, eventually vibrating near my ear.

It is down here that I will begin to hear the words “One thing do I ask of the Eternal, only this do I seek: that I may dwell in the House of the Eternal all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Eternal and seek God in God’s Temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

But I will make a separation for the High Holy Days. Step by step I will break free from this workroom, and climb into a new space. I will gather my family around me. I will change the table cloth to white. Plan my meals. Set candles in candlesticks. Hang a sign to the East.  This is more than Shabbat – this is Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, the Days of Awe, and I must prepare.

From meals to cards to calls and opportunities for personal reflection, our community seeks to make this Holy Day experience physical and personal. Packets are being prepared for our families full of crafts and activities to set the stage to make this a separate and special moment in time.

Picture yourself and your families and where you will be, your transformation of self, space, and being to let that plan unfurl.

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