Earth Etude for Elul 1 Alarm Clock for the Soul

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen~

Today marks the beginning of the month of Elul, a period of self-reflection and the search for forgiveness. Each day during this month, you will find here an Earth Etude for Elul, a short reflection on teshuvah and Earth by a member or friend of Ma’yan Tikvah. We hope these Etudes will help you along the way on your journey. 

It’s Elul.

Once again.

We’ll hear the shofar in the mornings,

trying to wake us up.

An alarm clock for our souls.

For every morning, the Sun rises.

Sometimes I’d like to hit snooze,

but Ruach HaKodesh – the Holy Spirit –

won’t let me,


if S/He/It does,

the interval isn’t long

until the alarm clock rings once more.

I have no choice.

I must keep moving forward.

For every evening, the Sun sets.

But there is, at times, joy in that, too,

in the moving forward–

unimaginable, overwhelming, excruciating joy.

For forward means letting go of pain,



sometimes slowly,

and sometimes in huge glorious leaps

that leave me feeling so peaceful

I wonder if life is real.

And it is.

  For every morning, the Sun rises.

Yes, hurt comes again,

and with it anger.

But growth keeps happening.

And when I do hit snooze,

the interval

until the next shofar blast

is shorter

and wakes me up more

than before,

to rediscover the joy

and the peace.

For every evening, the Sun sets.

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network. She is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spiritand is a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA.

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