Today is the first day of the Jewish month of Elul, which means we are precisely one lunar cycle from Rosh Hashanah, the new year. There is a whole lot of preparation going on around our house, and some of it is even related to the upcoming holiday. Quite a lot of the non-holiday prep has to do with what my husband and I want to be when
we grow up my husband comes to the end of his time on active duty in the Navy. That won’t be resolved by the time we welcome 5776, though.
After taking leave to visit family for the High Holidays last year, this year we are once again hosting Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner for our friends in the local area, especially our fellow military folks who aren’t able to be with their loved ones during this busy time of year. I’m narrowing down my list of recipes and coming up with a dazzling array of excuses to try even more varieties of local honey. I’m kicking myself for not having been on the ball enough to start brewing our own mead (honey wine) early enough for it to be ready for the new year.
My preoccupation with dinner planning is not, perhaps, the most spiritually elevated thing on which I could be focusing now. It may be a distraction from everything else we have whirling around right now, from my husband’s résumé honing to my rabbinical school application. I think, though, that by turning my attention to something as concrete as figuring out how best to feed and entertain an as-yet-unknown number of guests, I free up my mental background processes to work on deeper things.
The image of my subconscious diligently yet mysteriously plugging away while I look for the holiday table linens is a comforting thought, but I’m not going to bet on its success unless I set aside some time to prepare my mind and spirit, not merely my kitchen and table.