Elul, Rosh Hashanah, and Life

I went through a couple of years where I observed the Biblical holidays with a crew I was hanging out with online.  It was weird and felt like I was wearing someone else’s shoes, so I stopped, excepting Passover.  It’s not that I don’t think those are the real holy-days, because I do.  It’s just.. well. Give it a try some year – celebrate a year’s worth of holidays that you’ve never celebrated before.  Be sure to confuse all your friends and relations by making them try new traditions.  Anyway.  I have the holy days marked on my calendar – but the run ups?  Nope.

I popped over to one of my buddies’ blogs and she mentioned that this was the month of Elul.  My response was, “Well.  -swearword-”  Why?  Because *this* has described my month perfectly.  (from chabad.org)

As the last month of the Jewish year, Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and stocktaking—a time to review one’s deeds and spiritual progress over the past year, and prepare for the upcoming “Days of Awe” of Rosh Hashanah andYom Kippur.

As the month of divine mercy and forgiveness, Elul is a most opportune time forteshuvah (“return” to G‑d), prayer, charity, and increased ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew), in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to G‑d.

Wha?  So I’m preparing for a new year?  And I went through that spiritual inventory because I felt the need but somehow it was totally timely?  Extra helpings of introspection and looking at the changes I need to make?  Oh.  Well NoBloodyWonder, then.  

I’ll be celebrating Rosh Hashanah this year, properly.  Because the Jewish year 5775 is going to be a big one for me.

I’ve been processing through a lot of emotion and doing a lot of thrashing around and complaining.  Hey, my best friend/sister of my heart has stage three breast cancer (at least, testing still happening).  That’s a lot to process.   She’s moving four doors up after years of trying to find a house… and it’s fallen out that she’ll be moving in when she starts chemo.  Yeah, my life is about to change.  (Hers too, but part of MY process is leaving other people to their own processes).

I’ve talked endlessly about being task oriented rather than trying to steer.  Well, this is my year to learn.  I’m going to be given the opportunity to stay so busy that keeping my eyes on my own paper (hattip: St. Velvet) is going to get a lot easier.  Even so, I have a choice.  I can thrash around on the line like I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks (I can’t believe we only found out on the 19th), and I can end 5775 with my faults magnified… I’ll be 10lb heavier, more stressed out, my kids will have another sucky year in school, and I won’t have gotten one step further along in my professional/personal development.


I can use my good brain and the gifts God has given me to bless my BFF, and then let Him do what He’s going to do.   I can do the things that come so very easily to me – after a lifetime managing a house, I can feed a couple of extra mouths without noticing – and I can make time for her.   I can stay task oriented and continue to take care of my own stuff – continue to stay on top of my kids’ schoolwork.  Continue to take care of my body and take exercise daily.   Continue to spend serious time in my sewing room and think hard about what I’m going to do next and how to get there.  In other words, I can do what God has called me to and stop trying to steer.  (He’s peeling my hands off a couple other steering wheels here too, to my mingled amusement and discomfort).

It’s my choice – will I choose to let God do what He intends to do in my life, one day at a time, one task at a time?  Or will I sit here and fidget and fuss?  

So.  I will celebrate Rosh Hashanah this year, not because I think 5775 will be a year without tears, a year without stress, a year without sorrow… but because I choose to let God use this time to change me, to transform me into the woman He wants me to be (at least the woman He wants me to be in 5776).  I’ll raise my glass to THAT.

May God’s will be done.  




(PS RH starts the evening of the 24th, and we should all just be getting started with the way we’ll be doing things this year about then).

6 thoughts on “Elul, Rosh Hashanah, and Life

  1. Mrs. D Garcia

    If you notice the numbers they flip, like in a year or turning around, changing direction. 5775.

    I’ve read about the Holy Days off and on over the years. What is your take about Christians celebrating them? I mean, why do you think it is ok? Not challenging you in this. I’ve wondered if the Bible says it was wrong or right, when Christ came did it mean that it didn’t matter if the Gentiles followed them. I’ve always been intrigued with the Holy Days but am not really sure what the Word says about it.

    This was a great post and I thank you for it. We have come to similar conclussions in our thoughts. I’m learning I can’t control it all. I need to focus on what I can do and be a blessing as best I can be. And it has been a lot of trust Me because you should be trusting Me. Realizing I was starting to expect a good outcome really humbled me. How dare I serve Christ with any expectation other than knowing I will spend,eternity with Him. Shouldn’t that be enough?

    Ouida Gabriel

    1. hearthie Post author

      If anything, I think we *should* celebrate the Biblical holy days as our holidays. Our current set of holidays is mostly lifted from the pagans. But it’s a pain in the butt. I decided the spirit of the holiday – the fellowship, the blessing – was more important to me than being correct. There are other (very good and thoughtful Christians) who have analyzed this and come to other conclusions.

      We are *free* of the requirement to follow the OT holidays – I mean, none of us is going to hit Jerusalem 3x year to obey properly – but that makes them no less meaningful or holy. I’ve got some good resources about the meanings of the days somewhere in my files if you’d like them. They’re soooo beautiful it’s just heartbreaking. I wish I *did* have a community to celebrate them with.

      And thanks. This is a hard season for me, and I’m learning some hard lessons. Which apparently I’ll get loads of practice with – just realized my submission isn’t the only thing God wanted, and I can’t “make this stop” by being a very good girl. Which is hurting my heart, but there you are.


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