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August 30, 2013 / Rabbi Laura

Elul, Almost at the End

As a non congregational rabbi, the end of Elul is a different type of busy for me.  Cooking.

photoIt is time for the brisket to go into the oven.

Searching through cookbooks and Pinterest pages, today I began crafting my Rosh Hashanah menus. My family teases me that I always find ways to experiment with new recipes. I don’t like to serve all the same items every year. That is, except for the brisket. I make the same brisket every year. I wouldn’t think of changing it! While I like to try out new flavors and tastes to accompany our Rosh Hashanah experience, a little bit of the “traditional” goes a long way.

As I enjoyed the aromas of the brisket slowly cooking in the oven this morning, I reflected on the idea that Elul is coming to an end.  I realized that one of the beauties of our Jewish ritual is that we never really reach the end – as in we never get to come back to it again.  We always eventually circle back to where we once began.  Ben Bag Bag teaches in Pirke Avot, “turn it and turn it again for everything is in it.”

Each time we re-turn to Elul , we are once again called to do the work of this High Holyday season.  And as this Elul nears its end, we know that it will return again.  What we might not have accomplished or finished this month, we can continue.  We grow, we change, we see things from a new perspective each year.  We always have work to do.

Today I realized that while I might return to the same brisket recipe every year, our family experience of it changes.  We are different people than we were last year.  We are new.  We are renewed.

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