By Lisa Septimus
It is hard to believe six weeks have passed since our Five Towns Yoetzet Initiative Summer Event. The summer has flown by, and we are now in the month of Elul.
Chazal interpret the name Elul as an acronym for the refrain of Shir HaShirim, אני לדודי ודודי לי, “I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me.” Given the romantic and hopeful feeling the line conjures, its ubiquitous appearance – on everything from wedding invitations to jewelry to Judaica – should come as no surprise.
But if we look more broadly at Shir Hashirim, we can see that the relationship embedded in that catchphrase is far from static. It features both pursuit and retreat. It prompts moments of closeness offset by moments of distance. And it requires constant work and attention.
The month of Elul is a reminder of the need to work on our relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. We need this reminder because we can easily take things for granted and become complacent as religious Jews.
Similarly, we should use this opportunity to work on our marriages as well, rather than take for granted the security of a relationship that requires constant renewal. The times apart and times together that the Torah builds into this most intimate aspect of our lives should remind us of the dynamic quality of marriage.
I look forward to making the summer get together an annual event, and seeing even more people join us next year for another conversation on this vital topic.
In the meantime, if you have any taharat hamishpacha questions or related concerns, please reach out to me – by phone, 516-900-2109; email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or the contact form on our website 5townsyoetzet.com.
Wishing everyone a Shana Tova!
Lisa Septimus is the Yoetzet Halacha of the Five Towns. She teaches Talmud, Chumash, and Ethics at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School in Great Neck, N.Y. She is the rebbetzin at the Young Israel of North Woodmere, N.Y.