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Rosh Chodesh Elul: Sound the Shofar!  Eight Things to Know about Elul

08/14/2023 09:18:44 AM


Rabbi Rudin


  • The Jewish month that begins on Thursday and Friday is the last month of the year - Elul.
  • The Shofar is sounded each day of Elul (including Rosh Chodesh and aside from the last day of the month) to awaken our souls to Teshuva (repentance), Tefila (prayer) and Tzedaka (giving back), the great themes of the season of the Yamim Nora’im - the Days of Awe, the High Holidays.
  • Elul is the month of preparation for Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. We engage in 2 acts of reflection and repair: Cheshbon Nefesh, taking stock of our lives and performing a spiritual audit of the past year and Piyus v’Slicha - making up with others - especially family members- and asking and granting forgiveness. 
  • Elul is also the month of working on our relationship with G-d, setting spiritual goals and relinquishing habits and practices that are obstacles to our growth as human beings and Jews.
  • The Midrash says that the name Elul אלול is an acrostic for Ani L’dodi V’Dodi Li - I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. (Song of Songs 6:3), beautifully encapsulating the month’s theme of reconciliation and love.
  • The astrological sign of the month is Virgo, representing the purity that we strive to achieve as we approach the High Holidays.
  • In the chronology of Jewish sacred history, Elul is when Moses returned to Mount Sinai as the Jewish people repented for the Sin of the Golden Calf.  After forty days atop the mountain for the second time, he returned with a new set of Tablets of the Covenant.  This act of renewal and repair took place on the 10th of Tishrei, Yom Kippur. 
  • From Rosh Chodesh Elul through Hoshana Rabbah, we greet each other with L’shana Tova… so….לשנה טובה תיכתבו ותחתמו  - L’shana Tova Tikateivu V’Tichateimu- may you and yours be inscribed and sealed for a year of blessing!

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784