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Tuesday, Elul 3, 5779 / September 3, 2019


We are now in the month of Elul, the last month of the year, 5779.  Rosh Hashana will begin Sunday night, September 29, through Monday (September 30) and Tuesday (October 1).

The Shofar is blown after the morning services during the month of Elul. The sounding of the Shofar is a reminder to repent for our misdeeds of the past year and improve our ways in the new year.

The name of this month, Elul, as all names of the Hebrew months, have their roots in the Babylonian language. Yet, our sages found the four letters which make up the word, Elul, hinted in the Torah.


Elulis an acronym for the four words in Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs), "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li" - "I am to my friend and my friend is to me." 


This refers to our special relationship and connection with G-d during the month of Elul. This relationship is accomplished through repentance, prayer, and charity. Our sages tell us that these three mitzvot nullify an evil decree and secure a new year of blessing.


Although the mitzvot of repentance, prayer and charity apply each day of the year, they have special significance during the forty days from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippur.


These 40 days correspond to the 40 days that Moshe was on top of Mount Sinai, where he prayed and received G-d's forgiveness for the sin of the Golden Calf. At the end of the 40 days G-d forgave the Jewish people and gave Moshe the Second Tablets replacing the one’s he broke.


Rabbi Avraham of Slonim once gave a sermon about the significance of the month of Elul and the importance of Teshuvah-repentance. 


Someone said, "Rabbi, what good is repenting, which I try to do, yet, I don't feel any spiritual uplifting.  In fact, from time to time I fall back into my bad habits.  What purpose is there in my repenting?"


Rabbi Avraham replied, "When a person realizes that they are sinking in deep mud and must get out, they have to take big steps and try to get to safe ground. Although, each time the person puts his foot back down, he again steps into the mud, yet, if he stops he will sink completely. But, if he continues, even though he is still in the mud, every move will bring him closer to getting out."


"The same is with Teshuvah. When you try  to emerge from the spiritual mud, you may not see any improvement at first. But as long as you keep on trying and making an effort to emerge, you will eventually succeed. The worst thing is to give up and stop, for then you will surely sink in the mud!"