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The Story of Elul, by Todd Greenberg

I tried to look at different aspects of what we as Jews contemplate and think about as we move towards the High Holy Days. God’s view of what we did out of fear and loneliness and perhaps why we can never see God’s face and for us to reflect on how we act in the world and what God has asked us of in this lifetime. This poem/prayer is perhaps a little rough, that was intentional. Rather than being a true historical commentary on Elul, I tried to tell a little story about it.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
The Story of Elul
In our vulnerability we travel the wilderness,
looking for the fields to sow, to cultivate,
afraid to be afraid, together we missed the call
our loneliness seeming to engage us to bring something, anything
to worship,
the hunger for something greater than ourselves
we look to what we knew
we took our fine goods with us
lets build on that we said
Moses was pissed
Don’t forget, God too!
This time I will lead, maybe they will listen, said God
you can’t see me Moses, if you do all will be ruined,
the seeking then would continue towards the golden calf
Let the bush burn, turn away Moses so you can
hear me, that’s your focus, lets hope it’s the Israeli’s too
the call of the Shema[1] Find Todd Greenberg’s prayer-poem, “Call of the Shema“ 
Hear, Here, Pay Attention
God forgave us going into this
journey of the wild knowing full well
that Grace, Kindness, Truth
and Compassion are not innate,
our missteps there to enlighten us
to show us a way
Reflect, Forgive, make amends,
Follow the Truth,
Love, Bring Joy and
vulnerability as you
sow and cultivate your fields
Not to worry, it will take a lifetime



1Find Todd Greenberg’s prayer-poem, “Call of the Shema



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