As I write this, I am in Cincinnati for my nephew’s b’rit milah. He was born on the last day of Av, and his birth reminds me of some of our Elul themes.
As Elul begins, we are given the opportunity to look back and seriously consider how we would like to live our lives. Like a newborn baby, we are full of potential. The High Holy Days are a time to tap in to our potential and create the best version of ourselves for the coming year. Elul provides for us a full month of preparation for the Days of Awe. We cannot expect to go to synagogue once or twice a year and immediately feel renewed. Just like we give a newborn milk or formula before solid foods, we take time to prepare before our feast of the spirit over the High Holy Days.
Thinking about the new arrival in my family gives Elul even greater significance this year. In holding with Ashkenazi custom, my sister has named him after our father Victor Young z”l. My nephew will spend his life honoring my father’s memory by carrying his name. Sad as we are that our father will not be here to hold his grandson, make fun of him, and hunt for pine cones with him, we know that Victor Aaron Dujan carries with him a legacy that we are all proud to bestow upon him.
As it says in Pirkei Avot 4:13, “A good name surpasses all else.” In his name is a great deal of potential. Victor means “conqueror,” and Aaron means “mountain of strength.” We pray that Victor Aaron Dujan will be able to conquer everything that comes his way with great strength of character.
May we all find the strength to use Elul to realize our fullest potential. May the month ahead bring us into a year of conquering the changes we wish to make in ourselves.