I always share my blog posts with my husband Zev and friend Blumi before I “publish” anything.
Blumi’s email back to me last Thursday said, “Beautiful!” and Zev didn’t object to anything I wrote, so I figured I was good to go. But, somehow, I didn’t feel my usual sense of exhilarated relief on Friday morning. I was second-guessing myself; vacations are supposed to be private and personal and maybe I shouldn’t have written about mine.
Not that I was able to think much at all last Friday morning. The day started at 4:30 AM so we could get from Nantucket to Pittsburgh for Shabbos. Thank G-d, the trip home was seamless–there was even time to visit the grandmothers on Friday afternoon. At around four in the afternoon, my daughter Mushkie and I stopped in at my mother’s house.
I’m not sure what made me answer Blumi’s phone call while I was there. Maybe, because I was having doubts, I needed to hear her tell me how much she liked the post. That was when she apologized for not critiquing it better before I published it.
“What are you saying?” I asked nervously. This was the first time Blumi had ever said anything like that.
“You just don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat,” Blumi explained. “And when I looked at it again last night, I thought someone might just read this post and think that about you.”
“Should I just delete the whole thing?” I asked. I suddenly felt awful about everything.
I tried not to sound too distracted as I rushed out of my mother’s house. When I got home, I parked myself in front of my computer and called Blumi. We quickly tried to patch up the post; Shabbos was fast approaching.
I was feeling agitated, but reminded myself that these events were not tragic. Embarrassing maybe, but not tragic. So I pulled myself together and went with Zev for a quick visit to his mother. Minutes after we got there, Zev’s cousin Rochel walked in.
“Did you like my post?” I asked her.
“You have to be careful,” she answered. She went on to explain what I already knew.
The second I got home, I called two friends, Shelly and SaraRivka, asking them both what they thought of the post. I could tell that neither loved it, but they weren’t embarrassed to be my friend either.
So the post stayed up, both on the Jewish Chronicle’s web site and on my blog site. And every time I looked at either site, I found another mistake. Big ones, too.
So, I apologize for any failing in my blog’s form or content, and I thank you for giving me another chance.
Writing is a lot like life; it’s hard to get everything right all the time. But, if ever there’s a time to write about making mistakes, it’s now, in the month of Elul.
Elul is when spirituality goes on sale. To help us prepare for the High Holidays next month in Tishrei, G-d fills the world this month with a compassionate quality known as the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. He permeates Elul with a unique spiritual kindness that makes it easier for each and every Jew to be aroused to do teshuvah, to truly desire to be closer to G-d and Torah. In Elul, even a fleeting thought of teshuvah is rewarded with tremendous spiritual clarity–the ability to see where and how to improve ourselves and our relationship with G-d.
What to add, what to change, what to delete altogether. And, of course, what to apologize for.
I may have gotten an early start on the process, but if teshuvah is G-d’s gift to the world and it’s more freely available in Elul, I would be wise to take advantage of every opportunity.