Elul Unbound: EL-O-L

Each Tuesday of this month, we are sending out a little dose of Elul humor. We have affectionately dubbed this practice "EL-O-L." Each of our weekly EL-O-Ls can be found below.


Week 1:

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Levi goes over to his friend Shimon's house and they shmooze for hours. Levi says, "It is getting very late. It must be way past midnight. What time is it?" Shimon replies with a shrug, "Sorry, I don't have a clock."

Levi: "You don't have a clock?"
Shimon: "Why should I? I have a shofar."
Levi: "A shofar? How can you tell time with a shofar?"
Shimon: "Just watch," says Shimon as he sticks his head out the window and blows a piercing long blast with his shofar.

All of a sudden, windows in the street start opening and lots of people yell, "Are you crazy blowing a shofar at this time? It's TWO O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!"

"See," says Shimon. "The shofar tells me what time it is."


Week 2:

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Saul has been in business in Miami for many years and the business is really struggling. Saul goes to his rabbi during Elul for advice on what he might do different in the coming year to save his business. Saul tells her about all of his problems in the business and asks, “Rabbi, what should I do?”

She says to Saul, "Take a beach chair and a Hebrew bible and put them in your car and drive down to the ocean. Take the beach chair and the bible and go sit on the chair at the edge of the ocean. Then open up the bible. The wind will rifle the pages and eventually the bible will stay open at a particular page. Read the bible at the page that the wind opened and it will tell you what to do."  

Saul follows her advice. At Hanukkah the rabbi sees Saul wearing an expensive Italian suit and driving an expensive sports car. Saul sees the rabbi, hands her an envelope full of money, and tells her that he wants to donate this money to the synagogue in order to thank the rabbi for her wonderful advice during Elul. The rabbi is delighted.

She asks Saul what advice in the bible brought this good fortune to the congregation. Saul replies: "Chapter 11!"


Week 3:

This EL-O-L  is a joke based on the Song of Songs - a sensuous love text that made it into our sacred canon of writings. We chose some lines from the Song of Songs that made us laugh out loud, as we imagined them being used as pick-up lines today. We highly recommend any of these, followed by ...BABY

Top Pick Up Lines from The Song of Songs

 Image Credit: Penguin Books

Image Credit: Penguin Books

12) Every part of you is fair, my darling, there is no blemish on you.
11) Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down Mt Gilead.
10) Your breasts are twin fawns in fields of flowers.
9) Feed me raisin cakes and quinces! For I am sick with love.
8) I have likened you, my darling, to a mare in Pharaoh's chariots.
7) Will you disrobe me with your stares?
6) Your limbs are an orchard of pomegranates.
5) His legs are like marble pillars set in pockets of fine gold.
4) Your neck is like the Tower of David, built to hold weapons.
3) Tell me, my love, where you feed your sheep and where you rest in the afternoon, for why should I go blindly searching the flocks of your friends.
2) Your nose is like the Lebanon tower that faces Damascus.

And finally ...

1) Your teeth are like a flock of sheep rising from the stream in twos, each with its twin.


Question for Reflection

1) How can humor help you access the love necessary to ask for, and offer, forgiveness?


Week 4: 

The fourth and final EL-O-L relates to the ritual of Tashlich, which many Jewish communities take on during Rosh Hashanah. It consists of going to a body of water, saying prayers of forgiveness, and casting away sins through the symbolic practice of casting away bread crumbs. 

Here are a few bread products we recommend for Tashlich, in order to cast away specific habits:

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For being self-righteous: Angel-food Cake
For littering: Dumplings
For promiscuity: Hot Buns
For being tasteless: Rice Cakes
For causing injury to others: Tortes
For goofing off: Nut Bread
For being ill-tempered: Sourdough
For stealing an automobile: Caraway Bread
For committing arson: Toast
For substance abuse: Poppy Seed Bread
For indecision: Waffles
For arrogance, pride: Puff Pastry
And Last but not least - For telling bad jokes: Cornbread

Question for Reflection:

1) What is one pattern, or habit, that you are looking to cast away this year?