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Ticking Down the Weeks

The Rabbis used a harsh method to compel both themselves and us to focus on the High Holidays. Between Tisha B'av and Rosh Hashanah, seven shabbatot or weeks pass. They established the practice of reading seven haftarot of consolation—one each week—leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Every week, as I rise to introduce the haftarah for that week, I am compelled to acknowledge the swiftly diminishing time until the High Holidays.

Furthermore, this week marks the beginning of the new month of Elul. Elul is the month that directly precedes Tishrei and Rosh Hashanah. Once again, the Rabbis devised a tangible way to help us count down the days to the High Holidays. Each morning during Elul, we sound the shofar. Maimonides refers to the shofar as a wakeup call, urging us to commence the introspective work needed to prepare for the impending days of atonement.

These two liturgical additions in the weeks before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur assist us in getting ready for this festive and spiritual period. They prevent us from being caught off guard and rushing to align ourselves mentally and emotionally.

Let’s not allow the season to catch us by surprise. Instead, let's use our time wisely and approach the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, with strength and confidence.

Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel


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