Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Chapter 128:1
The Month of Elul

1. [The period from] Rosh Chodesh Elul until after Yom Kippur is a time of [Divine] favor ("eis ratzon"). Although, The Holy One, blessed be He, accepts the repentance ("teshuvah") of those who return to Him wholeheartedly, throughout the entire year, these days (between the 1st of Elul and Yom Kippur) have been set aside for repentance, and are most conducive to it, because they are days of mercy and favor.

[These days have acquired this status because] on Rosh Chodesh Elul, Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the second set of stone tablets ("Luchos Sh'niyim") and spent forty days there, descending on the tenth of Tishrei, which represented the final day of atonement [for the sin of the Golden Calf]. From that time onward, these days were set aside as days of favor, and the tenth of Tishrei as Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement") (1).

It is customary in many places to fast on the day preceding Rosh Chodesh Elul and follow the order of prayer of "Yom Kippur Koton" (lit: "Minor Yom Kippur) to prepare one's heart to repent. If Rosh Chodesh Elul falls on Shabbos, [the fast] is held on the preceding Thursday.

The Ari z"l explained that the name Elul is an acronym of the verse [Exodus 21:13]: "Ve'asher Lo Tzada V"HaElokim Inah L'ydo, v'samti lecha..." ("If one did not lie in ambush [to murder], but G-d set up the situation, I will provide [a place for you to take refuge]"). [This verse describes the institution of cities of refuge for accidental murder.] Its association with the month of Elul indicates that this month [is a place of refuge, as it were, and] a time of favor when [G-d] accepts our repentance for the sins we have committed throughout the year. It also alludes to the fact that, during this month, we should also repent for those sins committed inadvertently. The Rabbis have also noted the following three verses for which Elul is an acronym: [Deuteronomy 30:6] "U'mal Hashem Elokecha Es L'vavcha V'es levav zarecha" ("And G-d, your Lord, will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants"; [Song of Songs 6:3] "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li" ("I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me"; [Esther 9:22] "Ish L'rayahu u'matanos l'evyonim ("[Sending] gifts from a person to his friend and [giving] presents to the poor."

Thus, the verses allude to the three things, repentance ("teshuvah"), prayer ("tefillah"), and charity ("tzeddakah"), which must be eagerly performed in the month of Elul. "And G-d will circumcise..." alludes to repentance; "I am for my Beloved..." alludes to prayer, which is "a song of lovers" ("rinas dodim"); "Sending gifts..." alludes to charity.

FOOTNOTES:

(1) Moses went up to Mt Sinai for 3 consecutive 40 day periods; for the first forty days, Hashem taught him the entire Torah and gave him the first set of stone tablets ("Luchos Rishonim"), which Moses subsequently smashed when he came down the mountain and saw the Jews dancing around the Golden Calf; Moses then spent the next 40 days begging Hashem to forgive the Jewish People; the final forty days was spent receiving the second set of tablets ("Luchos Sh'niyim").

Table of Contents  Paragraph 2 Next 

Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2002 Project Genesis, Inc.

 






ARTICLES ON TOLDOS:

View Complete List

A Question of Honor
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

The Search for Blessings
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Yaakov and Eisav Go Separate Ways
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Our Struggle
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Choose a Direction
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Butter Battles
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Old and Improved
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Esav's Game
Shlomo Katz - 5762

New Week: New Blessings
Shlomo Katz - 5773

> No Two People are the Same
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Hopeless Case
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

The Worst from the Best
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

ArtScroll

The Bravery of a Jew
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Why Does "And G-d blessed him "Appear at the End of the Pasuk?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Inside Outside
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Fathers and Sons
Shlomo Katz - 5768



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information