An Elul Experiment….


Female chemist

I am feeling prodded? inspired? by Rabbi Phyllis Sommers’ BlogElul project. She challenges us to blog daily for the month of Elul about the month and its process of introspection and teshuva. Since I am working on the parameters of my computer and internet use this month, it might be quite counterproductive for me to participate.

I have to see whether the exercise helps me use my internet time better, or becomes one more task that just pulls me away from the people I love. Time will tell… and I am here, blogging Elul, for now.

I am trying a new family project this Elul, as an experiment.  We are going to (try to) focus on one midda (character trait) or mitvzah each day of Elul and try to improve it.

While I know this is not that different from what many people do during the omer leading up to Shavuot, I am trying this new approach with the children that somehow managed to turn into big kids on me this summer. All of them. All at once.

That’s a different blog post. What I have found to be so interesting so far is the list itself. I had put some choices down on paper to give the kids some ideas and a head start. What they wanted to add was such a personal and honest reflection of what they know they need to work on that it simply fascinated me.

I know that part of real teshuva means not focusing on everything. Choosing one, maybe two areas or challenges in your own life and truly focusing on change in them is the advised course, and often the most effective.


I wanted everyone to be setting an example for each other, and it of course is forcing me to step up. Today the kids chose to focus on saying all of the brachot, or blessings, and doing so properly. So I had to be more focused on nursery-teacher like loud pronouncements of my own, making time and space for their “Amens”. Which is all good.

It feels a little like the office pool that loses weight together. We are a team, trying to take baby steps and improve, but together.

I don’t know if this will work, or if we will keep it up all month. I hope we do. It certainly is a self-imposed mechanism for me to focus on my family on that which matters.

I will keep you posted on our progress, but if you have any ideas for what should be on our month long list, I would LOVE to hear them!