Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Taking Account of our Souls (and Email Inboxes)

As we look ahead to the month of August (it's the month before the High Holidays!), we acknowledge the intensity and special importance of this time leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Like any important event, the weeks preceding are to be filled with ideas and activities to prepare us, to make us ready for that which the Holidays demand: self reflection, repentance, and opportunities to change any patterns or behaviors that may not have served us in the past year.

There's a tradition of 'cheshbon hanefesh', literally "taking account of your soul" during the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah.  Rabbi Sarah Graff suggests going through the sent messages mailbox in your email account as a way of assessing the year past.

Which are the names, the subjects, and the content of your emails in the year since last Rosh Hashanah?  Which are the names missing from your inbox?  To whom were most of your most important messages sent?  How many of your messages were written in shorthand, without editing?  How many messages do you now wish you could 'unsend'?

In a way, our email accounts are a window into our lives: how much of this past year was work?  How much was play?  Who are the people that played leading roles in your life this year?  What changes would you like to see reflected in your 'cheshbon hanefesh' next year at this time?

Know that this work of self reflection is among the most sacred and important tasks you'll do all year.  Taking time to truly see the year gone by will help assure that the year upcoming will be richer, fuller, and even more meaningful.

- Julie 


  1. I love this. With so much of our communication taking place online (email, FB, Twitter, text), we now have the chance to review what we said, how we said, and to whom. I will add this to my soulwork of Elul. Thanks!!

  2. I love this. It is a wonderfully modern twist on an ancient, but useful, tradition. Thanks Julie.


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