This year the month of Elul begins the evening of August 16th at sundown. As Elul is the month preceding Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is considered a month of repentance and spiritual preparation. According to tradition, several biblical verses hint at the centrality of these desired behaviors, as their first letters form the acronym ELUL.
Repentance = Teshuva
Then YHVH your Elohim will open up (lit. circumcise) your heart and the hearts of your offspring to love the YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and soul, in order that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:6)
Circumcision is symbolic of the covenant between YHVH and the people of Israel. In this verse, circumcision of the heart is envisioned as preparation for living a fuller life. The weekly portion that includes this verse is always read on the last Sabbath in Elul, shortly before Rosh Hashanah.
Relationship through Communication = Prayer = Tefilia
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. (Song of Songs 6:3)
The most widely known acronym, this verse (often inscribed on decorative wedding bands) is interpreted by the rabbis as an expression of the subliminal and mutual love between God and the people of Israel. This particular verse is suggestive of communication (i.e. prayer), through which one has a closer relationship with YHVH.
Righteous Deeds of Charity – Tzedakah
The sending of potions to one’s friends and gifts to the needy (Book of Esther 9:22)
Although the original context of this verse relates specifically to the celebration of the festival of Purim, it embodies a timeless lesson in generosity and kindness in human relationships, and in the taking of responsibility for the weaker members of society.
These three elements together help to “overcome the evil decree/acusations” — leading thereby to redemption. In Jewish tradition, the archetype of redemption is the Exodus from Egypt. The exodus is celebrated with the singing of the Song at the Sea, beginning with the verse:
Another amazing hidden acronym for ELUL!
This coming week starts the month of Elul
and the 40 days of spiritual preparation before Yom Kippur:
1) Reconciling Relationships with man and God
2) Returning to the One true God in Repentance
3) Performing Righteous Deeds fulfilling Torah in acts of Love!
… and Receive the Blessings God intends for you!
Our Relationship with Yah is enhanced through Prayer… called “Tefillah” in Hebrew
Repentance “Teshuvah“ is Returning to God and His way of Love through Torah
We exhibit His character with Righteous deeds of “Tzedakah“