Elul Unbound: Week 3

 
 

Day 15 (Sunday, August 26th): Mini-Podcast #3 - What's Love Got To Do With It? (The Song of Songs)

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!


Wake-Up Call:

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 15 wake-up call, press the play button on the right.


Day 16 (Monday, August 27th): Poem #3 - "You And I"

Each Monday of Elul, we are releasing a poem related to our weekly theme. This week, the poem we have chosen is "You and I," by Leonard Nimoy, which connects to this week's theme of love and relationships.

You and I
By Leonard Nimoy

 Image Credit: New York Times

Image Credit: New York Times

 Image Credit: Rebel Circus

Image Credit: Rebel Circus

I am not immortal.
Whatever I put off for later
may never be.
Whoever doesn’t know now
that I love them
may never know.
I have killed time.
I have squandered it.
I have lost days…weeks…
as a man of unlimited wealth
might drop coins on the street
and never look back.
I know now, that there will be an end,
a limit.
But there is time
valuable and precious time
to walk,
talk,
breathe.
Time to touch,
taste,
care.
To warm the child
who is cold and lonely.
There is time to love
I promise myself…
I will.
I am
I am ready
I am ready to give
I am ready to give and to receive
I am ready to give and to receive love.

Questions for Reflection:

1) What is one thing you can do to be more loving to yourself this coming year?
2) What is one thing you can do to show more love to someone dear to you this coming year?


Wake-Up Call:

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 16 wake-up call, press the play button on the left.


Day 17 (Tuesday, August 28th): EL-O-L #3: Song of Songs' Pick-Up Lines

Today’s 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. Today 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.

Translations courtesy of Marcia Falk and the Jewish Publication Society.


Question for Reflection

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


Wake-Up Call:

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 17 wake-up call, press the play button below.

 
 

Day 18 (Wednesday, August 29th): How Can I Love You Better?

Each Wednesday of Elul, we are encouraging folks to take in a reading on the weekly theme we have chosen for Elul Unbound. This week's was written by Omid Safi and was initially published by On Being.

How Can I Love You Better?
By Omid Safi

 Image Credit: Plum Village

Image Credit: Plum Village

The Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, a living sage who was nominated by Martin Luther King for the Nobel Peace Prize, recommends that we ask those closest to us a simple and powerful question that has the power to transform our relationships: "Please tell me how I can love you better."

It’s good to remember that the greatest truths are often simple. This simple statement touched my heart. I wonder what it would be like to have this as a basis of our daily interactions, one person at a time. What a powerful, simple, and humble gift to offer one another, and our own selves.

These days, as there is so much pain and suffering in the world, what’s outward shows up on our inside.

So many relationships are filled with turmoil, tension, and resentment. Individuals, families, communities, nations, the world community, the natural cosmos, are all filled with tension. We need peace and harmony in our own hearts, and in our interpersonal relationships as we need peace in the world.

Yes this I know: We are not doomed to live like this. More and more, I find us yearning to be whole, be healed, and live in harmony. But not knowing how.

I speak not as one who has found the answers. But this much I know: Something magical and beautiful happens when we ask each other this magical and loveliest of inquiries:

My beloved, how can I make you feel loved today? Tell me, my love, how can I love you better?

Here is the part about this question that I find so touching: the asking. The vulnerability to ask. The openness to not only put another heart before us, but to put the way that our beloved would like to be loved ahead of our own sense of what that loving has to look like.

 Image Credit: Deb Sanyal

Image Credit: Deb Sanyal

My love, I adore you, and maybe I don’t know yet how to love you best in the way that is best for you.

You know this already: I love you. I want to know: How can I love you better? Not even more love but better love. We do have different languages of love. I want to learn yours.

Some of us need to be held, touched lovingly, and have love glances into the window of my soul. We yearn for a touch that possesses not, and only comforts. (Show me if this is how I can love you better.)

Others need to be loved by having the lover give them some space, room for solitude. Some of our beloveds have hearts that cry out: Being around people, even being around you my beloved, is draining for me. I need to be alone to recharge. Can you hold space for me? (Show me if this is how I can love you better.)

Others need to be shown love by doing things for them. So many understand love through acts of service. Fold the laundry. Do the dishes. Bathe the kids. Take all your love, and put it into a home-cooked meal. (Show me if this is how I can love you better.)

You are, my beloved, a mystery to me. You are a cosmic mystery. Secrets written in your eyes that no word has ever spoken. Songs in your heart that have moistened no lips. I know you. I know your heart and soul so well. I want to be there for this mystery. Let the unfolding of the mystery come, when it comes, how it comes, as you would want for it to come.

Teach me, my love. Teach me your language of love. Teach me the way that you need to be loved, today.

 Image Credit; Shreya Chauhan

Image Credit; Shreya Chauhan

Lead me to trust you, trust that you know your own heart, that you know your own heart’s needs. Let me practice humility, not in how I want to love you, but in whatever way is best for you in this very breath. Let me learn your language of love, whether it is spoken words, cuddles, silence, space, or service.

Teach me, learn with me, whatever poems my eyelashes should scribe on your cheeks.

Let us let go of attachment to how I want to love you, and trust that what matters is you being loved, when you want to be loved, how you want to be loved, how best you can be loved.

Let us trust this flowing cosmic river of love, that how you need to be loved today may be different that how you’ll ask to be loved tomorrow. What matters, all that matters, is love, not the language of love.

Let us be lovers that learn each other’s language of love.

So my Beloved, how can I make you feel loved? Or better yet: how can I let you know, light of my eyes, that you are already so deeply loved? Tell me love: how can I love you better? How can we love each other better?

Let us begin here. Let us change the world for the lovelier. You have already changed my world. For you are all the worlds to me.

Action Suggestion

1) Today instead of questions for reflection, we are suggesting an action as part of your Elul practice. Choose one relationship where you have complicated love (you both love them and have some difficulty with them). Ask them one thing you can do to love them better.


Wake-Up Call:

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 18 wake-up call, press the play button below.

 
 

Day 19 (Thursday, August 30th): Orange is the New Elul

On Thursdays, during the month of Elul, we are sending out videos that dovetail with the week's Elul Unbound theme. Today's video clip comes from the show Orange is the New Black. 

 
 

Questions for Reflection

1) Does anything in particular that Cindy said resonate with you, and how you understand Judaism?
2) What do you think Cindy means by "doing God?" Is the practice "doing God" part of your Jewish experience? Why or why not?


Wake-Up Call:

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 19 wake-up call, press the play button below.


Day 20 (Friday, August 31st): Week 3 Zoom Gatherings 

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. 

This week there are two opportunities to connect! First, at 9:30 AM Eastern/6:30 AM Pacific on Friday, August 31st, and second at 8:30 PM Eastern/5:30 PM Pacific, also on Friday, August 31st. Make sure you build in a few minutes to install Zoom, if you do not have it on your device yet. 

For the morning session, you can join by heading to Zoom.us/j/658481875, and for the evening session, you can join at Zoom.us/j/598327992

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 658481875 for the morning session or 598327992 for the evening session, followed by the # sign. 


Wake-Up Call:

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 twenty's wake-up call, just press the play-button below!

 
 

Day 21 (Saturday, September 1st): Week 3 Wildcard - An Elul Soundtrack

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 selection of songs written specifically with Elul in mind, by a variety of Jewish artists. The first track we are sharing comes from singer/songwriter Beth Hamon, and is entitled "Achat Shaalti" (meaning "One thing I ask"). Listen to it by clicking play below.

 
 

We also highly recommend that folks check out the ten tracks that are available through Elul: Songs for Turning, which you can listen to below and/or purchase here.

 

Wake-Up Call:

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 3rd Shabbat wake-up call, just press the play-button below!