Hearing the Shofar’s Call from a Hindu Temple (3-Minute Mommy Peptalk)

Hearing the Shofar’s Call from a Hindu Temple (3-Minute Mommy Peptalk)

The shofar blast that reminded my daughter in India that Elul is here.

My oldest daughter, 21-year-old Hadas, is traveling around India for the next month. And before Shabbat she shared an incredible story with me. That morning, she had been walking by a Hindu Temple, when she suddenly heard shofar blasts coming from the Temple. It sounded just like the actual shofar blasts on Rosh Hashana.
Hadas was shocked. A shofar? In India? Coming out of a Hindu Temple? And those shofar blasts, she told me, made her think of Rosh Hashana. And Elul. And then, she realized that in a few hours it would be Rosh Chodesh Elul. She had completely forgotten!
Even in distant India, Elul is letting its presence be known.
And then this morning, I woke up early to get my kids ready for their first day of school. At 7:20 I had my second-grader Yaakov halfway out the door, when I heard shofar blasts.
It’s Elul! I suddenly remembered. Not only is it Elul, it’s Rosh Chodesh Elul! I had completely forgotten! And I rushed upstairs to get a white Rosh Chodesh shirt for Yaakov to wear to school.
In India, in Jerusalem, and everywhere in between, Elul is in the air.
And I’m personally feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the convergence this year of the start of school and the start of Elul. The abrupt end of the summer vacation mothering marathon mixed with a pressing yearning to do some deep Elul thinking about my year ahead and the year that was.
And if you are also feeling a bit stressed out right now, I wanted to tell you something very important I learned from Rabbi Nivin.
At any time of transition, like we moms are going through now, people often feel overwhelmed, confused, low-energy. During transitions, we tend to underperform. And our goal is to gently and lovingly get through the transition.
Gently and lovingly helping our kids get started on the right foot in whatever way they need. And gently and lovingly turning our focus to Elul.
Here’s how I’m trying to do just that.
This morning, after helping my kids get ready and out the door, I spent a few minutes writing what Rabbi Nivin calls a rambling cheshbon, a stream of consciousness accounting of my year. Rabbi Nivin recommends doing this every day of Elul, reflecting on all aspects of this past year, what went well and what didn’t. And reflecting on the year ahead, and how I would like it to look.

You could spend one minute a day doing Elul work. Or an hour a day. The main thing is being consistent, doing it every single day. And then, before Rosh Hashana, I write up my goals for the year based on my Rambling Cheshbon.

So this is what we need to be doing right now. Recovering from summer vacation, and getting our year and our kids’ years started on the right foot. Putting one foot in front of the other. Slowly, patiently. Gently and lovingly. Chodesh tov!


  1. Thank you for sharing the rambling cheshbon idea! I’ve been doing it and it really helps! Otherwise Elul might just get away without my noticing, like in other years…

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