Elul Unbound: Week 2
Day One (Sunday, August 19): Mini-Podcast #2 - A Wrinkle in (Jewish) Time
Today, and each Sunday of Elul, we kick off our weekly Elul theme with a mini-podcast. Click the play button below to hear this week's!
Each day of Elul Unbound includes a wake-up call, to remind us that part of this final month of the year is becoming awake to what is coming in the new year. For our Day 8 wake-up call, press the play button on the right.
Day Two (Monday, August 20): Poem #2 - "A Pace Like That"
Each Monday of Elul, we are releasing a poem related to our weekly theme. This week, the poem we have chosen is "A Pace Like That," by Yehuda Amichai, which connects to our weekly theme of re-conceptualizing time.
A Pace Like That
By Yehuda Amichai
I’m looking at the lemon tree I planted.
A year ago. I’d need a different pace, a slower one,
to observe the growth of its branches, its leaves as they open.
I want a pace like that.
Not like reading a newspaper
but the way a child learns to read,
or the way you quietly decipher the inscription
on an ancient tombstone.
And what a Torah scroll takes an entire year to do
as it rolls its way from Genesis to the death of Moses,
I do each day in haste
on in sleepless nights, rolling over from side to side.
The longer you live, the more people there are
who comment on your actions. Like a worker
in a manhole: at the opening above him
people stand around giving free advice
and yelling instructions,
but he’s all alone down there in his depths.
Questions for Reflection:
1) As you read the poem through, what word or phrase jumps out at you? What does it communicate to you?
2) Where in your life do you need a different, slower pace?
3) Do you want to create a "manhole" for yourself, so you are removed from the advice of others? What would you take with you into such a manhole?
Each day of Elul Unbound includes a wake-up call, to remind us that part of this final month of the year is becoming awake to what is coming in the new year. For our day nine wake-up call, press the play button to the left.
Day Three (Tuesday, August 21st): EL-O-L #2
Each Tuesday of this month, we are sending out a little dose of Elul humor, through a joke that connects with our weekly Elul Unbound theme. Read on for this week's joke!
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!"
Question for Reflection:
1)Where might you need to envision a new start in something you are struggling with...to let go of trying to make something work out and instead allow yourself a fresh start?
Each day of Elul Unbound includes a wake-up call, to remind us that part of this final month of the year is becoming awake to what is coming in the new year. For the day three wake-up call, press the play button below.
A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shriveled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.
Questions for Reflection:
1) Where do you need to slow down?
2) Think about something that you want to change in your life, but is difficult. If you could let go of having it accomplished quickly, what would be the first small step you could take?
Each day of Elul Unbound includes a wake-up call, to remind us that part of this final month of the year is becoming awake to what is coming in the new year. For our 11th wake-up call of Elul, press the play button below.
Day Five (Thursday, August 23rd):
On Thursdays, during the month of Elul, we are sending out videos that dovetail with the week's Elul Unbound theme. Today's video is called "Try Something New for 30 Days." Honestly...with a title like that, we're stunned that this video wasn't made specifically with Elul Unbound in mind!!
Today, we are trying something different, instead of asking reflection questions. Instead we offer a "reflection suggestion."
We encourage you to think of one small thing you can try that is different or new and life affirming for the next 30 days. What is one small thing that you’d like to do differently? Imagine starting your new year, already feeling like you have accomplished something? In the video, Matt Cutts states, “The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not.” So why not try something? You never know how it might change you.
Each day of Elul Unbound includes a wake-up call, to remind us that part of this final month of the year is becoming awake to what is coming in the new year. For our 12th wake-up call of Elul, press the play button below.
Day Six (Friday, August 24th): Zoom Gathering #2
In a Judaism Unbound first, we are creating opportunities for you to connect, face-to-face, with other listeners! Each Friday of Elul, there will be a 60-minute Zoom gathering, to check in about how your Elul is going, and share thoughts on the weekly theme of Elul Unbound. Join this week's gathering via video chat by heading to Zoom.us/j/535822722 at 3:30 PM Eastern/12:30 PM Pacific on Friday, August 24th (you can also click the image on the left). Make sure you build in a few minutes to install Zoom, if you do not have it on your device yet. If you cannot join with video, you can join via phone by dialing 1-669-900-6833. You will be asked for a room ID number, and you should type 535822722, followed by the # sign.
Each day of Elul Unbound includes a wake-up call, to remind us that part of this final month of the year is becoming awake to what is coming in the new year. For day thirteen's wake-up call, just press the play-button below!
Day Seven (Saturday, August 25th): An Elul Meditation
Shabbat Shalom! On Saturdays during Elul, we are mixing it up a bit. While each other day of the week will stay within one category (videos, poetry, etc), Saturdays will be "wildcard" days, so you won't know what to expect. Our wild card for this week is a meditation, created by Wendie Lash, which you can use today, any day this month, and beyond. Access it by clicking the play button below:
The meditation starts and ends with a chant of the Hebrew word “Hineini.” Hineini means “Here I am.” It is a word in the Torah spoken by Moses and other prophets in response to a call from from God/YHVH/Beingness. Hineini is a good reminder to wake up and be present in the now. Ask yourself “Where am I right now/this month/this year?” Then take a pause - take a breath - and see if you can respond: “Hineini! I’m present with my experience here in this moment.”
We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.” ― Albert Camus
Questions for Reflection:
1 ) Do you need to put more energy and effort into being present in the moment, or into taking time to prepare?
2) Is Elul helping you to be more present in each day? If so, how? If not, what could change to make that the case?
Each day of Elul Unbound includes a wake-up call, to remind us that part of this final month of the year is becoming awake to what is coming in the new year. For your second Shabbat wake-up call of the month, just press the play-button below!