By Inna Rogatchi, Times of Israel—
Before the New Year, For the New Year
The significance of various periods in our Jewish calendar makes our life thoughtful, reflective and meaningful. With regard to the inner denotation of Elul, it is an unparalleled time in Jewish calendar. On Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Pesach, Hanukkah, Purim, Shavuot, our reflections are renewed annually while still being on the same subjects, events and sensations. During Elul, we are introspecting, or are supposed to do it, the previous, just lived on, year, with analyzing it and ourselves, with thinking, planning, hoping, aspiring as the days of every Elul are getting us closer to Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish annual border-line between our immediate past and our immediate future, the time of a year filled with thoughts, regrets, late understanding, and ever popping up hopes. So there is never the same Elul, all these 29 days of the month preceding Rosh HaShanah, for each and every of us. And thus, it is always interesting because of the authentic novelty and almost total personification of every given Elul.
Aspects of Elul
In a popular and useful special spiritual chart of Elul known as Elulgram, every day of our pre-Rosh HaShanah month is defined with a verb commanding a day of our mental preparation for entering the new year of our lives. Two models of Elulgram are known, which are slightly different in the order of the dominant actions of a day. More logical seems to be the one which starts from Prepare for Elul 1st and ends with Return for Elul 29th.
From the 29 days of Elul defined in the chart, only three days do not have a direct connection to the process of creativity, the days expecting us to count, to forgive and to judge (ourselves), although the last imperative is a part of the creative process, but rather in its post-creative period.
The remaining 26 days of Elul imply the qualities that a creative person is busy with organically.
My interest in the mutual impact of spirituality and art while thinking on the month of Elul is to reflect and to show this specific inter-influence.
The imperatives for the days of Elul in our activities and thoughts could be divided, from the point of view of creative process, into three groups:
Preparations & Actions, needed for creative process; Results of the creative process; and Emotional Outcome of the creative process, during the month of Elul. These groups in their essence can be also defined as Prepare, Change, and Hope. Continue Reading….