An Elul greeting from ALEPH

Dear Friends:

Over the Shabbat of August 14-15, we enter the lunar month of Elul, our gateway into the Days of Awe. This month, in a timeless journey beginning yet again, we look both backwards and forwards in time.  We look back to who we’ve been this past year – where we’ve missed marks – and we look ahead toward healing relationships with ourselves, each other, creation and Creator.

Tradition offers that at Rosh Hashanah soon approaching, time begins anew and renews. In that spirit, Elul is very much our preparation for renewal.  We pray that Elul heralds a renewal of insight, healing transformation and light for you and your loved ones.

One tool for Elul discernment is the practice of praying Psalm 27 each day. Here is an English translation of Reb Zalman z”l (available in Psalms in a Translation for Praying), and a recording of Reb Zalman offering this Psalm.

We bless you with meaningful journeys toward the sweetness of the new year ahead, and Shabbat shalom to all.


Rabbi Rachel Barenblat and Rabbi David Markus
on behalf of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal

Psalm 27, translated by R’ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

YaH! You are my Light, my Savior —
whom need I dread?
YaH, with You as my strong Protector

who can make me panic?
When hateful bullies gang up on me,

wanting to harass me,

to oppress and terrorize me
they are the ones

who stumble and fall.
Even if a gang surrounds me,

my heart is not weakened;

if a battle is joined around me,

my trust in You is firm.
Only one thing do I ask of You, YaH:
Just this alone do I seek:

I want to be at home with you, YaH,
All the days of my life;
I want to delight in seeing You.
when I come to visit You

in Your temple.

You hide me in your sukkah

on a foul day;
You conceal me unseen in Your tent.
and also raise me beyond

anyone’s reach
And now, as You have held

my head high,
despite the presence

of my powerful foes
I prepare to celebrate and thrill,
singing and making music

to You, YaH!
Listen, YaH, to the sound of my cry
and, being kind, answer me!
My heart has said:

I turn to seek You.
Your Presence is what I beg for;

don’t hide Your Face from me.
Don’t just put me down,

You, who have been my helper.
Don’t abandon me, don’t forsake me,

God, my support.
Though father and mother have left me
You, YaH, will hold me securely.
Please teach me Your way
and guide me on the straight path;

discourage those who defame me.
False witnesses stood up against me,

belching out violence;
don’t let me become

the victim of my foes.

I wouldn’t have survived
if I had not hoped that I would see, yet,
YaH’s goodness fully alive on earth.
So, friend, you too hope to YaH.

Be sturdy!
And make strong your heart!
And most of all–keep hoping to YaH.