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I'm in a High Holidays State of Mind

09/02/2022 07:55:17 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

One of the many benefits of being a rabbi is that, as the month of Elul rolls around, I’m already preparing for the High Holidays. Elul, after all, is our preparation month. It puts us in a High Holidays state of mind through the daily reading of Psalm 27, the daily blowing of the shofar, and more.

I also enter that state of mind through sermon preparation: reading, note-taking, writing, editing. (I still, by the way, use note cards and create detailed outlines – the way I learned to write papers in ninth grade.)

I contemplate sermon topics throughout the summer, often sharing ideas with a rabbi friend in Florida. I strive to choose sermon topics that fall into one of four general themes: the Jewish world; American society; personal growth; and our relationship with God. I usually incorporate a section about Israel within at least one sermon.

Those four big categories can be helpful rubrics for each of us to think about during Elul. Jewish tradition is certainly concerned about all of them: the health of the Jewish community, our place within the broader society, our personal efforts at self-improvement, and our relationships with God.

Delving into these issues is literally part of my job! But it is really the job of every Jew to do the same, especially at this time of year.

So, friends, it’s Elul! Let’s get into the right state of mind by reading the “Penitential Psalm,” Psalm 27, listening to the shofar blast, and contemplating some of life’s most pressing issues.

I look forward to seeing you all very soon and L’Shana Tova!

Rabbi Jeffrey Weill

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784