When he was on Saturday Night Live, Jon Lovitz had a recurring character called "Master Thespian," a parody of scenery-chewing British actors. While this role was played for comedic effect, there is no doubt that there are performers who go to similar extremes in the playing of their parts.
Do we, too, fall into this pattern? Do we put on appearances for others that mask our true selves? Elul calls upon us to engage in cheshbon ha-nefesh, an accounting of the soul. It urges us to assess how we behave toward others. It asks us to be sure that our public and private selves are in sync.
Otherwise, we are simply going through the motions and not fully living life. Otherwise, we are merely acting.
This post is part of #BlogElul, a project begun by my friend and colleague, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer.