In my September column in The Bridge I discuss the cheshbon ha-nefesh that takes place during Elul, the month before the new year begins. But there is something else about Elul, namely the sentence created using its letters, aleph, lamed, vav, lamed. Found in Shir Ha-shirim, the Song of Songs we read, Ani l’dodi, v’dodi li, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”
Shir Ha-shirim is the most beautiful love story in our tradition. Of course, the sages of old had to go beyond the secular idea and therefore said that it represents the love of God towards the Children of Israel. That is why it is read on the Shabbat during Pesach which is the festival highlighting that relationship.
it seems to me that this is the perfect time to renew our relationship with our spouses and partners. While we ponder our deeds and misdeeds of the past year and vow to do our best to become better people, we should vow to be better in the most important relationship of all. We all too often take for granted that relationship.
Suzy and I just celebrated our Golden Anniversary. In fifty years there have been ups and downs for sure, but I realize that she has always been my strength and my support, my cheerleader and the one who has set me straight for five decades. Even in dark times she’s been there, and I hope I’ve been there for her. Think about your relationship, and it doesn’t have to be a traditional marriage. Love is love! But love needs renewal just like everything important needs renewal. Every day should increase commitment, and Elul is a very good time to truly focus.