Poems for Elul, the month before the High Holidays

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

The moon of Av is waning. Soon, on August 15, we’ll reach Rosh Chodesh Elul — the new moon of the lunar month of Elul, which is the month leading up to the High Holidays.

Elul is a special season on the Jewish calendar: a time for self-examination, for the inner work of teshuvah (repentance / return), for repairing our relationships with ourselves and with our Source so that once we reach the Ten Days of Teshuvah between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we can focus on repairing our relationships with others.

Last year during Elul I wrote daily poems on themes of teshuvah and preparing for the Days of Awe. (I was participating in an internet-wide phenomenon called #blogElul — Rabbi Phyllis Sommers provides 29 prompts, and people around the world write daily responses to those prompts. My responses were poems.)

As a working congregational rabbi, I tend to find Elul pretty busy. But these poems poured out of me. Writing them gave me a touchstone, a sustaining thread of spiritual practice, which helped me connect with my own inner work even as I was preparing for the High Holidays in a practical way.

After the month was over I took some time to let the poems rest, and then returned to them with an eye to revising and improving them. I shared them with some trusted readers. And now I am delighted to be able to share them with you — in printed and bound form, and also as an e-book — in hopes that they might enrich your month of Elul, too.

SeeMe-frontcoverSee me: Elul poems

The lunar month of Elul (leading up to the Days of Awe / Jewish high holidays) is a time for self-examination, contemplation, and the inner work of teshuvah, repentance or return. Here are 29 poems, one for each day of Elul, which aim to open the reader up to awe, reflection, and the spiritual experience of being truly seen.

Print edition: $10 on Amazon | £6.25 on Amazon.co.uk | €7.98 on Amazon Europe

E-book edition: $6 on Amazon |  £4.07 on Amazon.co.uk | €5.72 on Amazon Europe

(And if you buy the print edition, you can add the digital edition for 99 cents.)

I also have copies available for sale in my office, and am happy to inscribe one for you if you would like. And, if you would prefer to borrow a copy rather than to buy one, I have some copies available for that purpose too — just let me know.

May our collective journey toward Elul be meaningful and sweet.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel

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