There is an understanding that during this time of year, God comes closer. In spiritual proximity, God is explained to be “in the field” rather than enthroned on high, seemingly far from approach. Meaning, God is ready for conversation, eager to hear our thoughts, joys, and frustrations. The question is less about God’s ability to listen. The challenge is whether we will let ourselves pause long enough to admit what it is we need God to hear.
As I ran into the house in the middle of the day, rushing to catch my breath, I noticed the most beautiful butterfly sitting on the sidewall. I have seen this butterfly before. Each time, I inch closer, hoping to examine its vibrant hues. But expectedly, it quickly flies away. This time, the butterfly stood still, still long enough for me to wonder if something was wrong. Again, I inched closer, thanking God for this chance to witness a piece of Creation. I took a deep breath in, let it out, and moments later, the butterfly flew away.
A precious chance to pause, reminding me that others need me to hold still. How will I listen if I am always rushing? How will I hear what needs to be said if I am always flying away?
God’s role in our liturgy serves as an example as to how we should behave with those we love. The Jewish calendar asks us to come out of isolation and reapproach those with whom our connection wanes. Will we pause long enough for our loved ones to come close? Or will the days and month pass us by, time scurrying away just like the beating wings of the butterfly?
Elul begs us to slow down. Who needs you to listen? And whom do you wish would listen to you? God dwells in the field, beseeching us to come near. So too may we open our hearts to those that wish to dwell in our presence.
Slow down. Pause. Reconnect. Imagine what you might hear if you’re willing to listen.
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tovah
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE..