Elul Homework 1

now the real work begins

Talk about “trim­ming” or “uni­fy­ing” is easy. The dif­fi­cult task lies ahead. I need to seek out the peo­ple I have wronged, approach them and express to them my regret along with a clear plan as to how I will change my behav­ior in the future.
At this time every year I print out the work­sheet illus­trat­ed above. I first pre­pared a vari­ant in the late 1980s and made it avail­able to my con­gre­ga­tion each year at the begin­ning of Rosh haShan­nah. At that time I would explain that, though we may feel it is impor­tant to attend ser­vices peri­od­i­cal­ly dur­ing the year, the impor­tant task of the hol­i­day we each need to do on our own among the peo­ple we love and about whom we care.

the RaMBaM maḥberet (notebook)

the RaM­BaM maḥberet (note­book)

Accord­ing to the Ram­bam (Mish­neh Torah, Hil­chot Teshu­va, chap­ter 2, halacha 9) God can for­give those trans­gres­sions between one per­son and anoth­er if we request for­give­ness from those we have hurt and repair what­ev­er injury we may have caused.

יא [ט]
אין התשובה ולא יום הכיפורים מכפרין אלא עבירות שבין אדם למקום, כגון מי שאכל דבר אסור או בעל בעילה אסורה וכיוצא בהן. אבל עבירות שבין אדם לחברו, כגון חובל חברו או המקלל את חברו או גוזלו וכיוצא בהן–אינו נמחל לו לעולם, עד שייתן לחברו מה שהוא חייב לו, וירצהו.

download and work from your own copy

You can download a copy of the Selichot Homework Sheet 1, make copies and distribute them for your own use.

Yes, anoth­er Seli­chot Home­work Sheet is on the way. Please resist actu­al­ly print­ing this. Feel free to copy the text into a file (a cou­ple of tables would work in your word proces­sor) and keep track of your progress there.

zayin ז for 7 people and behaviours on the seventh of elul

As I men­tioned the oth­er day, I have a num­ber of lapel but­tons that dis­play no more than a Hebrew let­ter. At one time the Union of Ortho­dox Con­gre­ga­tions cre­at­ed a series of but­tons let­ters with the 22 let­ters as they appear in Torah script. I have a faint rec­ol­lec­tion this was done to sup­port a project of con­gre­ga­tions spon­sor­ing the writ­ing of Torah scrolls. (”Buy a let­ter in the Torah.”?)

This but­ton dates from the ear­ly 1950s or mid 1940s. I have no doc­u­men­ta­tion on it, nor any expla­na­tion as to why it was pro­duced and dis­trib­uted.



Date: 1940s?
Size: 2.1
Pin Form: straight
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text ז
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6 Responses to Elul Homework 1

  1. Yankel says:

    Could/should we take this form a step or two, or three, fur­ther?

    The form is high­ly “per­son­al”, in the sense that it assumes that the per­son who has trans­gressed is also being hon­est about hav­ing made the apol­o­gy. With­out get­ting into issues of omnipo­tence (“s/he knows if you’ve been good or bad …”), can we real­ly trust our­selves? In light of this, per­haps the check­list should have a place for the wronged per­son to sign, i.e. “for­giv­en on (date), by (wronged per­son)”. And per­haps we should leave room for com­ments, such as “had no idea what I was talk­ing about”, or “thinks what I did to him/her is unfor­giv­able”, “expects an eye for an eye”.

    And con­sid­er­ing we’re in an age of social media, there’s prob­a­bly a Face­book appli­ca­tion for this already.

    • davka says:


      It would be nice to have ver­i­fi­ca­tion that you have actu­al­ly made such per­son­al teshu­vah. While it is not designed for that, there is no rea­son that the space in the columns where I imag­ined for the user to check off hav­ing made hirs apol­o­gy could be used for the one apol­o­gized to for a sig­na­ture of hav­ing been com­plet­ed.

      And, yes, I had designed this work­sheet for specif­i­cal­ly per­son­al use. I should prob­a­bly make anoth­er set of cat­e­gories that are more social. I’m not sure how I’d phrase them. But, I gen­er­al­ly think of “social” as “polit­i­cal” and no longer bein adam l’chaveiro, but bein adam l’makom. As soon as we enter the social sphere we’re act­ing on a much high­er plane.

      Per­haps a third set on this work­sheet should have the head­ing:

      These are the problems I’ve seen in my world about which I have not done enough:

  2. Paul Kipnes says:

    Yet again, you are my teacher. Love this sim­ple yet pen­e­trat­ing “real” work­sheet. Will use in my con­gre­ga­tion b’shem omro. And your name too, in case its not “omro”

  3. davka says:


    Thank you. I would con­sid­er chang­ing my name to Omro, except that it is too sim­i­lar to Omri and for most of Jew­ish his­to­ry that has had a neg­a­tive asso­ci­a­tion.

  4. Wiccan Forum says:

    Mer­ry Meet. I real­ly think so too=] I have been pok­ing around the inter­net for some time today, and its real­ly hard to find any­thing good to read on blogs=) Maybe its because there are too much of those around =) But this site actu­al­ly keeps catch­ing my atten­tion=) Great sto­ries, and cool design ^__^. Ill be sure to give it more vis­its from now on :P

    • davka says:

      Thank you for your inter­est. I hope you con­tin­ue to find mate­ri­als here that will spur your spir­i­tu­al learn­ing.

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