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Elul 21: Abandonment

by Hillel News |Sep 04, 2015|Comments

First Blast: Text

אַל-תִּטְּשֵׁנִי וְאַל-תַּעַזְבֵנִי אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׁעִי

Do not forsake me and do not abandon me, O God of my salvation.


Second Blast: Commentary

Tonight, in the Ashkenazi tradition, begins the recitation of Selihot, the penitential prayers that also appear several times during Yom Kippur. One line from the Selihot, itself a quote from elsewhere in Psalms, echoes our phrase: אַל תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי לְעֵת זִקְנָה כִּכְלוֹת כֹּחִי אַל תַּעַזְבֵנִי , "Do not abandon me in old age; when my strength fails, do not abandon me." These phrases reflect perhaps our ultimate fear during this intense time: abandonment.


Third Blast: Practice

As the phrase from Selihot suggests, the elderly are especially vulnerable to feeling abandoned by their families and communities. Take some time today to visit or call some older people that you know, either relatives or people in your community.


Double Portion: Something extra for Shabbat

This week’s portion, Ki Tavo, contains the lengthy and graphic set of curses that will befall the Israelites if they do not fulfill the covenant. Collectively, these verses display how God will abandon the people if they abandon God, and provide a gruesome incentive to remain faithful to the covenant.


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  • Elul
  • Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience
  • 2015

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