The month of Elul
This month is when we, the Jewish people celebrate the end of our year with Rosh Hashana. It is also when we have our most solemn holy day of the year, Yom Kippur.
Elul is described as being about mercy, repentance as well as life and death.
This month many people I know experienced death within their families.
It reached a point when my boyfriend said to me- “you know, this is the darkest month, WTF?”
You see, his nephew of 16, was killed in a mountain climbing accident.
My realtor’s father died last Thursday and my dad died two days ago.
My new landlord had to postpone a meeting because his business partner is sitting shiva right now for his mother’s sudden death.
There are others too.
This is also the month of my two-year Aliyah anniversary here in Israel.
Additionally, I am packing up to leave Jerusalem for Jaffa. I’m trying to be present in this moment. I am trying to be cognizant of what is happening around me. I am trying to process my father’s death.
I don’t like this word.
It know it is part of life and it is necessary.
The irony that this is the theme of Elul and my father- the person who should’ve begged for repentance, did not.
I have been wronged by people that I thought really loved me over the summer.
I know not one of them will repent. Not one will ask forgiveness from me.
It is this, which brings me to the mercy that was given to us at Sinai after Moses broke the Ten Commandments upon seeing us worship the golden calf.
Showing mercy to one who has not repented is a rather god-like quality, I would say.
I do not know how others define mercy, but I would say it is the act of restraint. It is putting the act of will power into performance, to hold one back from being all that they could unleash, if they chose to. This is what I have chosen.
Life & Death
Many people this time of year think about death and their own lives.
I am, because I don’t want to die alone in a bathtub like my father did two days ago.
What is really puzzling me though is the word Elul itself.
Elul is spelled אלול; the acronym we say is Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li, which is “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” (Song of Songs 6:3) Gd is ours and we, the Jewish people belong to Gd.
What’s love got to do with it? (Woe woe… H/t Tina Turner)
I think it is that only love can provoke one to extend mercy to one who has not sought repentance.
It is amazing my father died this month of all months.
I am supposed to show him mercy, where there has been no repentance.
I am supposed to learn from his death, that I am now an extension of his life.
I am part of the Beloved, our people.