As you probably know, the Hebrew word for repentance is "teshuvah." I've written about how repentance and return a little here before, but there are yet more interpretations and yes, even additions to things that I had already closed the door on. One of the beauties of Elul for me is the reality that I'm never done, it's never enough and that there's rarely a stopping point - and that's all expected and okay! The sense of the continuation of self-discovery is critical - I wish there was a way to make it so obvious all year long.
Teshuvah literally means RETURN - but, as I've eluded to before in this posts, I'm not sure I want to go back to where I've been - I want to move FORWARD! In doing more reading, I am not alone.
This is not to suggest that there is anything inappropriate in repentance. Before you can embrace the right path, you must leave the wrong path, you must regret having taken it, you must go away from it.
But return is much more profound. It's not just going away from bad behavior, it is going back to your true self, your Divine soul... it's returning to the essence that was always pure - it is returning to God.
There are two levels of Teshuvah. The first level involves cleaning up the mess in your room, so to speak... this is step one - making order and repairing that which was broken. But step two, the critical step, is connecting to your essence. [above from: 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays , by Simon Jacobson.
What is your essence?
Where are we truly RE-turning to?
What about who you are now is true to your essence?
What about who you are now is not true to your essence?
interesting tip, no extra charge :) This is the CHAI, 18th day of Elul. As you know, chai represents the letters chet and yud which spell out the Hebrew word for LIFE.
Cantor Seth Warner