There are times in our lives when there are tremendous pressures when our lives feel like they careen out of control. As we rush from one thing to another, as we attempt to get everything done, we feel like we're constantly treading water. I have always been told that a way to handle this pressure is to make lists, and cross things off as you get to them. That way, you feel like you've achieved something.
These last few months have been very different. We feel like there is pressure, but for the opposite reason. It feels like there is nothing to do; like we have to fill our days. Our regular activities, whether social, work, or shule, are curtailed, and it often feels like there is nothing to replace them. The pressure comes from the sameness of the days, from the lack of activity and human interaction.
The remedy here can be found in the lessons of Rosh HaShana. We find ourselves in the month of Elul. This month is a time when G-d is more available, more there for us. The Chassidim famously say about this month is "the king is in the field." As Elul reaches its crescendo, as we get closer and closer to Rosh HaShana, this becomes even more true. And we can tune into that by inserting our Jewishness into our day.
Jewish practice is bound in routines. From morning to evening, there are things that we do. They all have meaning. They all contain profound spiritual messages. However, perhaps above all, they give our day its shape, they give us our routines, and they help us build our day and our activities around our identities. At this time, we can all connect by taking on extra elements, by building up our routines. As we hear the shofar, as we draw closer to the next year of our lives, to the next phase in our activities, let's all use the time to build on our connection and build ever more meaningful routines into our days.