Sunday, August 23, 2015

Four Weeks of Elul 5775. Week 2 - Our Spiritual Selves

As we enter the month of Elul, we have an opportunity to examine and evaluate our spiritual lives.  That’s an easy sentence to write, but a much more difficult one to explain.  What IS spirituality?  It certainly is one of those words that mean different things to different people. For the purposes of this list of questions, I want you to focus on Spirituality as referring to those aspects of your life that help you to feel connected to something greater than yourself. We grow spiritually when we feel that our lives have meaning and purpose and we are open to the possibility of the miraculous around us.

During this time of Chesbon Ha Nefesh, one of our tasks is to examine the status of our relationship with God, Torah, and our own mortality. As always, the following questions should not be perceived as a complete listing – they are merely a beginning. If you have other questions that you think may help others in our community, I would love to receive them.  I will post them on my blog – which is linked to both Facebook and our Temple Emanuel website.


  1. What events have caused me to question my faith during the course of the past year?
  2. When/where was the last time I felt close to God (however you define God)…?
  3. Jewish tradition teaches that all of us are created in the Divine Image.  When was the last time I looked for holiness in the people that I love the most?
  4. What aspects of my personality reflect the values that I have inherited from my family? From society? From Popular culture? From my own inner holiness?
  5. When was the last time I was able to pray without any distraction?
  6. How often, during the course of the past year, have I been able to set aside my own needs for something bigger than myself?
  7. During those moments when I did feel close to God (however you define God…) this past year, was I able to hold on to those feelings and share them with others?
Again, these lists are in no way complete.  They are designed to help us as we prepare for the High Holy Days.  If any of these questions has caused to you want to speak to me or any of the other clergy at Temple Emanuel, please do not hesitate to call us at 303-388-4013.  You can also send me an email at

May you utilize these and all of your questions to help you gain a better understanding of your spiritual selves.

L’Shanah Tovah,

Rabbi Joseph R. Black

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