To everything there is a season
The Book of Kohelet teaches us that “to everything there is a season”, and boy, is it coming up to that time of year again. You know the one; the one with the shofar blast, and the sweetness of apples and honey, and the round challahs, and the sounds of nostalgic melodies.
As the season ramps up to the High Holy Days, I’m starting to notice a kind of tension in the air; everyone feels hurried and scattered, and that precious gift of time feels like it’s literally melting through our fingers, unable to be caught before it touches the floor.
To be clear, it does not seem like it’s just your rabbis, cantors and professionals feeling this way. The hustle and bustle of our regular lives resuming now that Labour Day has passed signifies that school is back in session, the office beckons us back, and the weather will soon cool down, the leaves changing to brilliant shades of browns, yellows, oranges and reds.
Each year, it seems like the start of fall, with all it represents, descends upon us like a surprise, and always feels like it is too early, or even late, but never exactly on cue.
Yet, our Talmud teaches us the principle of ain mukdam u’m’uchar batorah: there is no early or late in our Torah. In other words, our festivals and occasions arrive exactly when they are meant to.
This could be the precise reason why, despite the hustle and bustle of the season, we are encouraged, during this introspective Hebrew month of Elul, to pause, take a deep breath, and look within our souls. It is perhaps no coincidence, then, that the word for soul, neshama, and the word for breath, neshima, share the same Hebrew root.
As such, let us instead take this time – with all the stresses of our busy lives on our shoulders – to embrace all the opportunities of this season and all the good that is to come as Rosh Hashanah approaches. Whether that’s attending uplifting High Holy Day services at Holy Blossom Temple, making sacred memories with family and friends, or taking on new challenges – take a deep breath, and dive in with all your soul.
L’shanah tovah – we can’t wait to live out Jewish time with you in 5783!