Elul Observances

For the Jewish community it is the last month of the year. We also are at the turning point having the Summer Holiday being the end of the time to repose and to go into a new school- or academic year and into a new church year.

By the Chosen People of God prior to the Exile the months were designated partly by names and partly by numbers.

Elul (Hebrew: אֱלוּל, StandardElulTiberianʾĔlûl) is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar. {Wikipedia}

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: "...

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: “To a good year” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The name of the month (spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed) is said to be an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3, where the Beloved is the Most High divine Creator of heaven and earth and the “I” is the Jewish people. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word “Elul” meaning “search,” which is appropriate, because at the end of a period (weak/season/ year) it is not bad to take some time free to think about what happened in the past. At the turn over of the season or year it is time to search our hearts and to seriously have an introspection and stocktaking — a time to review one’s deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im or “Days of Awe” of Rosh Hashanah and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

According to tradition, the month of Elul is the time that Moses spent on Mount Sinai, forty days and forty nights, neither eating bread, nor drinking water, preparing the second set of tablets after the incident of the golden calf (Exodus 32; 34:27-28). He had ascended on Rosh Chodesh Elul, the 1st of Elul of the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE).

Moses was seen by Jehovah as a righteous person, finding beauty in God His eyes. It was to him that God wanted to make all His function cross over upon his face and willing to show beauty, having compassion to whom God will have compassion. Though God cannot be seen, people can feel His presence. Moses, with Christ Jesus, was the only human being ever coming to know God this way. Jehovah taught him the secret of His “Thirteen Attributes of Mercy” (Exodus 33:18-34:8).

Exo 33:17-23 NHEBJE  Jehovah said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”  (18)  He said, “Please show me your glory.”  (19)  He said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”  (20)  He said, “You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.”  (21)  Jehovah also said, “Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.  (22)  It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;  (23)  then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Exo 34:1-8 NHEBJE  Jehovah said to Moses, “Chisel two stone tablets like the first: and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.  (2)  Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.  (3)  No one shall come up with you; neither let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mountain.”  (4)  He chiseled two tablets of stone like the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets.  (5)  Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah.  (6)  Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, “Jehovah, Jehovah, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth,  (7)  keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”  (8)  Moses hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

Moses remained on the mountain for 40 days, until the 10th of Tishrei (Yom Kippur), during which time He obtained God’s whole-hearted forgiveness and reconciliation with the people of Israel following their betrayal of the covenant between them with their worship of the Golden Calf. This was the third of Moses’ three 40-day periods on Mount Sinai in connection with the Giving of the Torah. Ever since, the month of Elul serves as the “month of Divine mercy and forgiveness.”

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses’ hand, on the 10th of Tishri, at the end of Yom Kippur, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him, as a sign that his repentance was complete.
Other sources say that Elul is the beginning of a period of 40 days that Moses prayed for God to forgive the people after the Golden Calf incident, after which the commandment to prepare the second set of tablets was given.

As the month of Divine Mercy and Forgiveness it is a most opportune time for teshuvah, the “return” to God, where we try to come even closer than in other times. This coming closer has to be done by getting in a closer relationship with God by spending enough time in conversation with Him, by prayer. for the Jews it is also a time where they show love for each other. That increased Ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew) has to happen in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to God.

Schneur Zalman of Liadi

Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi likens the month of Elul to a time when “the king is in the field” and, in contrast to when he is in the royal palace,

“everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him, and he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all.”

Is that not a lovely thought that we are given the opportunity to meet that King over the king of kings? From the Hebrew writings we may understand that Jehovah God is willing to listen to everybody who is willing to search for Him.

As we pass through life, we are invariably coarsened and sullied by our errors and misjudgements, or simply by the travails of physical life; but our innermost self, the soul which is created in the “image of God” and should be a “veritable part of God” should be ready to come in front of God. Last year the Christadelphians and Bible Students in Belgium focused on our communication with God. This coming season we are going to look at our being, which has the nephesh or nefesh (flesh) and (psyche), a soul which can only exist because God allows it to exist.

The Jews may bind the small black leather cubes containing parchment scrolls inscribed with the Shema and other biblical passages, around the arm (“hand Tefillin“) and head (“Head Tefillin“) of adult men during weekday morning prayers. But we should not have such touchable symbols to wrap around us to have the connection with the Word of God. The Mitzvah (precepts and commandments as commanded by God) binds us spiritually with our hearts and deeds with the Holy Spirit. Our mind (psyche) or soul which we give into the Hands of God, in these days of ‘turn over’ or ‘turning point’, should now get some interest from us to cleanse and purify it, so that we can come to a daily reunification within ourselves and with God.

The term mitzvah has also come to express an act of human kindness. In these days of passage, going from baby into toddler, toddler going from kindergarten to the lower and later to the junior and higher school. As adult going into a new academic year. It is God Who allows us to climb higher on the ladder, getting more knowledge and wisdom.

Specific Elul customs include the daily sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) as a call to repentance. The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms). (Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24)

In this world there is a lot of distraction, so much noise we often do not hear the right sounds. There is so much that keeps us busy in the time of year we often do not find enough time to have pleasure time for the own family and even less time to spend time together with brothers and sisters of the same faith. How much time do you find to spend with others thinking about the Word of God and discussing what can be found and understood from Bible reading?

Let us take time to repent and to think about what we have done last year and how we are going to enter the new church year. We look forward to enter a new church-year full of enthusiasm, looking for ways to get to know the human soul better and to bring more people to better insight in the Holy Scriptures, in the hope that they may find God and shall be willing to get baptised and to join one of our communities.

Are we willing to let our soul be formed by the almighty God and to be looking forward to the Teshuvah, the God-given ability to access and reconnect to that untouched self, re-establishing our lives upon its foundation, and even redefine a negative past in its purifying light?

We may not overlook the most important aspect of Elul which is to make a plan for your life. Because when the “Big Day”, the Last Day of this time-system comes it shall be too late to make preparations. Everything has to happen before that day, like the marriage arrangements have to be taken before the day of marriage. It is Now that we do have to prepare ourselves to be ready to come before the Judge of the Endtimes. You may be sure that it will be so much easier when you prepare yourself for that day with others; Together the work shall be so much lighter and it will be much easier for each of the meeting to find the right way. Now is the time to prepare yourself for making a good start going into the right direction and finding like-minded people who are willing to unite in the name of Christ, willing to do, like him, the Will of God and not of ourselves or of the world.

Let us hear the trumpet of God and follow His Guidance into a new stadium, preparing ourselves to enter that promised New World, the Kingdom of God, as children of God.

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Find also to read:

  1. Our openness to being approachable
  2. A new school-, academic and church year
  3. The sin of partiality
  4. Let us not fret or worry about next season
  5. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  6. Following a Compassionate Lord
  7. Wishing to do the will of God
  8. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  10. The soul
  11. Is there an Immortal soul
  12. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  13. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  14. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  15. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  16. The thought of losing rekindles the joy of having
  17. Courage is fear that has said its prayers

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  • #BlogElul A time to reflect (otir.wordpress.com)
    The month of Elul is starting tonight.
    Which meansRoshHashanah is in one month.As we prepare for the holiday of Passover in the spring, with spring cleaning among other things, we do prepare for the High Holy Days with a thorough soul cleaning!
  • Elul/Vav (workofheartandsoul.wordpress.com)
    Many Jews also visit the graves of loved ones throughout the month in order to remember and honor those people in our past who inspire us to live more fully in the future. {They leave a pebble or stone on top of the grave!}
  • ABC’s of Elul (jewishpress.com)
    If youhad an important court date scheduled – one that woulddetermine your financial future, or even your very life – you’d be sure to prepare for weeks beforehand.On Rosh Hashanah, each individual is judged on the merit of his deeds. Whether he will live out the year or not. Whether he will have financial success or ruin. Whether he will be healthy or ill. All of these are determined on Rosh Hashanah.Elul – the month preceding Rosh Hashanah – begins a period of intensive introspection, of clarifying life’s goals, and of coming closer to God. It is a time for realizing purpose in life – rather than perfunctorily going through the motions of living by amassing money and seeking gratification. It is a time when we step back and look at ourselves critically and honestly, as Jews have from time immemorial, with the intention of improving.
  • No Spiritual Home – Elul 5775 (lightwavejourney.wordpress.com)
    As a professional Jew, I havepreviously had communities that were easier for meto be a part of spiritually, but I have rarely felt uncomfortable in a community I have worked.  Only one time, I heard a rabbi give a sermon onYomKippurin which he said that Tisha B’Av should be disregarded.  It was the one and only time I almost walked out of High Holy Day services with my family.Judaism is a part of my essence.  I love how it fits into my life, pushes me to think, and creates a cocoon where I can live.I am a God-Wrestler.  I question, I pray, I hope, I vision and I wrestle.  And on the days that I don’t quite know how God fits into my practice of Judaism, I let go and trust the universe.  And throughout it all, I try to live a life of Godliness.  Every place I walk is a sanctuary, so why in this moment should I feel like I have no spiritual home.  The mountains and the desert are seriously my sanctuary.  I love the earth; I love so many special spaces that exude God-like energy.  I used to have a yoga studio that felt like God’s sanctuary.  Today, there is no space that is calling me for the Rosh HaShanah, yet I have to take my kids to services for the High Holy Days.
  • Getting Clean During Elul (beittshuvah.wordpress.com)
    This month is when we traditionally do our inventories of the past year. We set up a balance sheet, listing the things we have done well and the areas where we “missed” the mark.
    +The Big Lie–Elul #8
    While there is a great deal to be sad about: loss, death, disappointment, our own errors, the hurts of others, etc; we have to keep this sadness in proper measure. When sadness is out of proper measure, we descend into despair. Rabbi Nachman calls this type of sadness the worst sin. Sadness/despair allows us to be hopeless and become victims. This sadness and despair allows us to tolerate the darkness that we and others bring into the world. It gives reason to our inactivity, our passivity and our engaging in negativity. This is the sadness that says “nothing will change” “why bother” “I don’t matter”, etc. It allows us to stay stuck and believe that we are powerless and doomed!
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    The Lies I Tell Myself-Elul #7
    in our age of “not taking responsibility, we can acknowledge the feelings another person has of our betrayal while not confessing to our betrayal.
  • #BlogElul 1: Prepare (velveteenrabbi.blogs.com)
    The full moon of Av (on the Jewish calendar), the full moon of Ramadan (on the Muslim calendar), has been steadily shrinking. As surely as waves roll out and then roll back in again, now it’s time for the moon to start growing. Today is new moon, Rosh Chodesh Elul. One month until the Days of Awe.
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    it’s always possible to start paying attention, to become mindful, to dive in, wherever we are. Maybe you haven’t been counting the seven weeks between Tisha b’Av and Rosh Hashanah — nu, no big deal; start now, four weeks before the new year! You can always begin to prepare. It’s always open to you. Start now, as the moon begins to wax, and when it wanes — as it will inevitably do — feel your heart and soul quicken with the approaching Days of Awe.
  • When the King is in the Field (acmsrabbiblog.wordpress.com)
    God has divided time into the holy and mundane.  Sabbath and the feasts are considered holy times, while the rest of the week is mundane where we engage in the normal activities of work and life.  Elul is seen as a time when the holy and mundane merge.  Every day of Elul is a little like Shabbat in the sense that because the “King is in the field”, we are to be more sensitive to the things that we do that keep us from putting God first in our lives. It is a time to restore the sense of awe toward the Holy One. We are to spend extra time in prayer, especially for personal repentance, reflection and renewal, and study of the Word.
  • Ninth of Av (amapofcalifornia.wordpress.com)
    The fast day always fell during summer vacation, so I had to watch for it on the calendar in order to avoid missing the date.  I was aware that it was a day of obligation and that I was expected to fast.
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    The destruction of the Second Temple and the razing of Jerusalem irrevocably changed the face of Jewish life, ushering in the exile (known in Hebrew as the galut) to the Diaspora that continues to this day.  Where we once were unified in the Holy Land given to us by God, our misdeeds resulted in nothing but sorrow and tragedy as we were scattered al arbah kanfot ha’aretz, to the four corners of the earth.
  • The Month Of Elul (A Time To Reflect On Yeshua Our Betrothed Beloved One) (paradoxparables.wordpress.com)
    During the Days of Awe is a good time to do Ritual Mikvah’s of repentance and dedication, of cleansing, in living streams of water, albeit a river or a shower if you can’t avail yourself to a river of moving fresh water. Repent that the times of refreshing may come, Acts 3:19.

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    Do you need a Shofar blast to awaken your spirits and inspire you to begin searching your soul to prepare yourself to come into G-ds presence? If so splash your face with some water, turn on some good worship music and seek His face.
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    Repenting of ones sins, seeking inspiration to live righteously is a just way to live. It would be good to remember those who have inspired us to come this far and continue to move forward.
  • Elul, All, Nothing, or Something (mymorningmeditations.com)
    There is a misconception that many people have about Judaism, what I call “the all or nothing” syndrome. With 613 mitzvot in the Torah, things can seem a bit overwhelming.

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