I find it so ironic – the way we marked Rosh Chodesh, the new month of Elul today, with the celebratory prayers of Hallel, even though we are still in the month of Av.

Especially, given the paradoxical juxtaposition of these two months – one a paradigm for grief and destruction, the other radiating with an upbeat optimism, bursting with its promise of joyous renewal.

The significance of this mustn’t be lost as we embark on our high holiday season, sixty day Jewish toxic cleansing.

The teaching here is clear.

We don’t need to wait for the darkness of the month of Av to subside to begin to live in the light of the month of Elul.

In blaming our present life situations for our inability to effect real change, we are choosing the convenience of living in our comfort zones over our real desire and need to attain emotional freedom.

Of course real change must at some point be supplemented and nurtured by an environment that allows for the flourishing of that change, that’s phase two of renewal though – that begins tommorow – when we mark Rosh Chodesh within the actual new month, however the change itself, can never be provisional on that perfect environment.

Tonight we kick off a sixty day renewal program. In order for our journey to the place of our higher light – during the month of ELUL and TISHREI to resonate with authenticity, it must begin in the darkened narrow alleyways of the month of AV.

Rabbi Yossi