The month of Elul is an acronym for the phrase “Ani l’dodi v l’dodi li” from Song of Songs (I am my beloved and my beloved is mine). It is about the relationship between ourselves and God. Rabbi Yoel Glick writes that the process of teshuva (return) is “about repairing our shattered vessel. It is about returning to the sense of inner balance and clarity that will make us fitting pipelines to channel the Divine emanation.. . . radically transforms our consciousness. To do teshuvah is to see light instead of darkness – to view the world through God’s transcendent eyes.”
While trying to translate the process of teshuva and Elul thmes through food, I came across the following story:
“In Europe, Elul arrived when the plums were purple and ripe and the pears were ready for picking. Jews called Elul the time of the “Flaumen un die Beren” (the plums and pears). In Yiddish these two words have additional meanings: “Flaumen” means flames, and “Beren” means to burn. Thus Elul is a time to search our hearts, and to seek God with fiery, burning intensity.”
I love stone fruits and am fortunate that plums are still in season (though pears haven’t made an appearance yet.) I adapted this poached plums recipe from The Kitchn
I hope this delicious plum recipe provides your nourishment during your spiritual journey this month.
4 ripe plums
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp water
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1. Add water and sugar to a small, deep pot. Cover and bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved.
2. Add cinnamon stick, lemon zest and plums. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove lid and continue to simmer, another 10 minutes (liquid should thicken).
4. Turn off heat and let plums cool for a few minutes.
5. Serve plain or with non-dairy yogurt or ice cream.