Friday, September 9, 2016

Elul Tools 2016 - 7 Elul 5776

Elul Tools 

Building a Strong Foundation

For the Days of Awe

Today's Elul Chai-Ku:

Don't starve your spirit.
Stop. Enjoy a day long feast.
Shabbat is soul food.

7 Elul - It's Shabbat: Take a Breather! 

Judaism teaches us that on the seventh day God drew a breath and rested. This model of a six day period of intense, creative work, followed by a day of complete rest, is a central concept in Jewish tradition. Shabbat. So even if our intention for thorough spiritual renewal is earnest during Elul, this process still deserves a periodic pause. We think of Shabbat as a day of perfection. We do not need to add or take anything from the world. No work. No effort. No action.  Let everything stay and rest as it is. Including YOU!

The Elul Tools over the past few days have included:

• Listening to the shofar daily.

• Considering the idea of Teshuva (return). 

• Creating a personal image of return that is meaningful for you.

• Experiencing the shofar as a wake up call.

• Understanding the significance of the different notes of the shofar.

• Thinking about the hurt you have caused your immediate family members.

• Contemplating how Leshon Hara (the evil tongue, gossip) creates pain, negative energy, and spiritual disturbance.

• Thinking about how we treat strangers.

• Balancing both the positive and negative about ourselves and our relationships.


 Think of each of these separate areas of contemplation as a yoga pose in your "Elul" practice. Now is the time for Savasana, which is the term used in yoga for relaxation and integration. Let all the hard work of your soul search digest. There's more introspective work ahead over the next few weeks, but for now rest your mind, rest your soul.  

p.s.  We even refrain from blowing the shofar on shabbat.  Nothing needs to be done.  No call to attention needed.  Experience your life exactly as it is.  

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