Time has a way of moving forward, and before we know it, the High Holy Days will be upon us. Elul is the month preceding the Days of Awe, and the entire month should be devoted to introspection, reflection, considering the Mitzvah/Mitzvot we have undertaken, and the kindnesses we have shown and shared. It is also a time for reviewing our spirituality and whether we have moved forward with it, and it is a time to pray and forgive. Forgiving does not mean we agree with the other person/persons. We are simply forgiving them for what we see or feel they have negatively done to us. It is a way of letting go of harbored anger or thoughts regarding another or others. In this way, by releasing the feelings and thoughts, we can move forward, using our energy towards positiveness.
We must also reflect on what we might have done to make another person’s life less comfortable and/or less filled with happiness. Try to think about whether you have wronged another, whether inadvertently or with a sense of anger and/or resentment. An apology might be difficult, but once you have done so, a burden will be lifted.
Some recommended reading in preparation for the High Holy Days:
Waiting for Rain, by Bryna Jocheved Levy
The Koren Sacks Siddur: A Hebrew/English Prayerbook, by Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks
Preparing Your Heart for the High Holy Days, by Dr. Kerry M. Olitzky
A Jewish Woman’s Prayer Book, by Dr. Aliza Laviwe
The How & Why of Jewish Prayer, by Israel Rubin
The Gift of Rest, by Senator Joe Lieberman
The Jewish Body, by Melvin Konner
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
Seyder Tkhines, by Devra Kay
Hours of Devotion, by Dinah Berland
Entering the High Holy Days, by Rabbi Reuven Hammer