Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We have just started the month of Elul, which will lead us to the month of the high holidays in Tishrei.

As everything in the world and especially in the Jewish nation, we try to prepare for what is ahead of us. As Jewish people our mere existence which is based on all the laws and commandments that Hashem set forth for his children, are all about our preparations in this world, so that we may receive our reward in the world to come.

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We prepare for Shabbat every week, for each holiday and even before we pray each and every morning, we prepare ourselves physically as well as emotionally. Most of the world prepares as well, for various events, yet the Jewish people live this preparation feeling constantly.

Aside from the technical preparations of shopping and cooking, for each Shabbat and each holiday, the high holidays have a special 40 days dedicated just for them. There are many customs revolving around these 40 days, from reciting the book of psalms each day, to saying the book of songs, and many more in order that our soul will awaken in these days to repent and come closer to Hashem.

This Elul there is another factor in the air which didn’t exist last year. Our unfriendly virus – AKA Covid-19. Usually Elul seemed to me something personal which each Jew did on their own to insure a good status in the year to come. And now all I can think about is that a new year is coming and hopefully with it also the end of this insane epidemic. This virus has taken so many precious lives already. Last year on the high holidays Covid-19 was inscribed in the book of what will be this year.

So therefore during this time last year in Elul we were praying for ourselves to be better people and to become closer to Hashem, however how many of us prayed that there wouldn’t be an epidemic which would shut down the entire world to a certain extent? How many of us that had a good job last year Elul-time dreamed that they would be out of their job, due to Covid-19? And sadly, how many people who had their loved ones at their side, lost them this past year due to passing away from this terrible virus?

Each year during the month of Elul and the high holidays, every Jew prays for a good year in all areas and hopes that everyone around them will be well. However, after this uncertain year which hit everyone in the world and not just an individual here and there, we come to this time of year feeling and thinking differently than just any year.

Jews all over the world are finally thinking seriously of coming back home to Israel, the family unit took on a different look, a more personal and more intimate one with better relationships that were developed due to this virus. Flying around the world for leisure and pleasure have been replaced with people staying home and enjoying what they have.

I think that G-d has shifted our glasses to see the world in a different light. To pray for something other than just the personal. Hashem wants us to see each and every one of us as part of one nation, one family, one unit.

This Elul it’s hard not to think of all the Jews and all the people in the world that have suffered greatly this past year. When thinking of Rosh Hashanah which is coming up, the first thing that comes to mind is, please Hashem remove this crazy bacteria from the world!

When thinking of Rosh Hashanah this year, I’m thinking Hashem please make this year the year that we are finally all redeemed, and You G-d will finally come back and dwell in your home in the Bait HaMikdash!

This past year has brought the feeling back to the nation that life is more than just the next vacation or a raise in one’s salary. This past year has brought back the feelings and thoughts of the bigger picture, of the true and full redemption of the Jewish people and of the world at large.

So this Elul our preparations for the high holidays will be of a different matter, we will prepare not just on a personal level, for sustenance and becoming closer to Hashem, rather this Elul we will be preparing also as a nation collectively, in order that we will be ready mentally and spiritually as G-d inscribes us all this coming year in the book of the true redemption to all of Am Israel, Amen.

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