1 Elul 5776
by Rabbi Heidi Cohen
A good friend of mine has been challenging me to run the Disneyland Half Marathon with her. Her argument, “Heidi, you love Disneyland so much, you have to experience Disneyland this way too!”
Now, let’s get something straight, I’ve never been a runner and actually, my mom and I used to proclaim, “we will start running when we see someone running and smiling at the same time.”
Yes, I’ve had my moments where I take up running for a short time, usually around the High Holy Days just to alleviate some of the stress. But even then I am only a short-term runner. When my friend suggested we do the Disneyland Half Marathon, I was able to find every excuse possible to not be able to register. But this year was different. There was nothing on the calendar and the date seemed too fortuitous. This year, the Disneyland Half Marathon is on September 4. What’s the coincidence? This happens to be Rosh Chodesh Elul. I realize this was fate telling me that this would be my year to get out there and run the race.
Elul is the month during which we prepare ourselves to enter the new year. We spend the month reflecting on the past and contemplating our future. I decided that my Elul would start a number of months earlier with preparing for this race. The culmination occurring on the first of the month seems like the ultimate way to enter the High Holy Days season.
Just as I spend months preparing my body for this long race, each of us prepare ourselves for these long moments of introspection. But this race is not only about preparing my body but also training my mind to know that I can complete 13.1 miles! I guess what they say is true: when you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!
So as this post is published on Rosh Chodesh Elul, Matt and I will be hitting the course pushing our bodies and minds further than we ever thought we could. I look forward to crossing the finish line not only with a sense of accomplishment and a really cool medal but also with a smile!
(You can follow me on race day by texting: dlhm to 38909. My bib number is 6009. The race begins at 5:30 but we are sent off in waves.)