I am so thankful to have married an incredible mensch with an incredible family attached. We are gearing up for a visit with my in-laws today. They have decided to drive up to Queens to spend the next couple of days with us. The kids loving spend time with their grandparents, something they do not get the chance to do as often as they should. We live in different states from both sets of grandparents and just getting together for Sunday brunch is not always an option. I love that when our grandparents do get a chance to spend time with the grandchildren, they do very special individualized activities. One of the best activities is when they read books together and I love that! We also love the opportunity to eat at a restaurant together.
My husband and I are the only members of our immediate family that keep the strict laws of kosher. We do this both in and out of our home. As a result, it is a challenge to just go out to a restaurant and grab some lunch when visiting our family near their homes. We love the chance to take them to some of the great kosher restaurants in our neighborhood. We have decided to go to one of our favorite Shwarma and Falafel stops tonight, Pita Hot! Another very special event happened today!
I started the day early and for the first time in a very long time I recited the morning blessings.
This is a beautiful way to start the day and especially since we are in the month of Elul, new beginnings are encouraged! First of all, if you are not familiar with Elul and why it is a month of renewal, here is a short explanation for you.
Elul-What a great and meaningful time of year and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Elul, is the name of the Jewish month that we are in right now. Elul is a month also known as a time of repentance, as the Jewish people prepare mentally for the upcoming Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur just a couple of weeks away. The Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word “Elul” translates to “search”. This is extremely appropriate because we are encouraged to search in ourselves for where we have been this past year and where we want to go in the year to come. I really love this time of year because we are all encouraged to reach out from our own lives and look at how we have treated our fellow friends and family. We are also encouraged to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Even the sweetest friend will come right out and say sorry. You know we all have friends like that!
Let me just start out my saying I am sorry if I have hurt or dissed any of you in any way. Now, that feels better. It is normal to ask for forgiveness even if you are not sure what you might have done wrong to a friend or relative. For more information on Elul and some of the Jewish customs Jews take on during this month go to Jewfaq.org. Elul is in the air and I have decided to really focus on meaningful things and I started out my day by reciting the Brachot Hashachar (morning blessings).
When I recited the morning blessings this morning, I felt so much more focused than I had in a very long time. When I mention focused, I am referring to the very essential things in life that busy days of rushing off to car pool does not allow me to acknowledge and appreciate. This morning, I felt that I gave proper credit, recognition and praise to G-d for giving me intelligence and understanding and providing a world in which to live. I also felt great that I could thank G-d for creating me as a human being and as Jew, and for the simple things in life, such as our senses, our bodies, and our freedom.