We just entered a new month Cheshvan, חשון( on the Jewish calendar — a month with NO holidays, just Shabbat and the rest of the week). Around the world: an audible exhale from rabbis and cantors who have completed the marathon of Tishrei, the month stuffed with special days, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur to Sukkot to Simchat Torah. In a little shul it’s pretty challenging to sustain programming when there’s hardly a breather over the course of a month. But — all credit to you — great stuff happened at our shul.
The Selichot event with Buster Grubbs, a wonderful blacksmith and engaging teacher, drew over sixty participants into our courtyard. And through all those Tishrei holidays falling on weekdays we always had at least minyan. What that says is — people care enough to come and experience (and support) community. In the big city, none of this might seem all that newsworthy, but it speaks volumes about what our
kehilla has accomplished.
The end of Elul along with Tishrei is a lot like a fireworks display: Big ideas — introspection, teshuva, resolve, remembering loved ones and friends who are physically no longer among us, rejoicing reveling in Torah — all those ideas encoded into non-stop rituals, songs, choreography. This new month feels like a breather. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. All the big props have come down.
The techies have cleared the stage. Back to a quieter routine of work and play and rest. And a quiet challenge: now that we’ve gone through Elul and Tishrei — what have we retained? How will we take our memories of those heightened experiences and translate them into 5780?
How will we forge the possibilities into new accomplishments, tangible blessings? As we relish the cooler weather and the desperately needed rain, let us each find ways to make the new year sweet.