Monday, August 29, 2011

Rosh Chodesh ELUL


Tonight as well as Tuesday and Wednesday, we are celebrating the beginning of the new Jewish month ELUL.

With ELUL we are entering the Teshuva period before the upcoming high holidays. This doesn't mean that we are unable to do Teshuva (Return to G - d) throughout the year; however, who doesn't want to do a least a bit of Teshuva before Rosh HaShana is coming in ? G - d is going to judge the entire universe for the next upcoming year 5771: Who is going to live, who is going to die, will we be healthy, who is getting married, will there be war, peace or natural catastrophes … Everything concerning the new year, G - d is going to decide on Rosh HaShana (Erev Rosh HaShana is on Wednesday 28 September).

A few days later, Rosh HaShana is followed by the highest Jewish holiday YOM KIPPUR. Whereas G - d judges his whole creation on Rosh HaShana, the Jews are going to be specially judged on Yom Kippur. Then He is, so to speak, signing His final decision.

This is one of the differences between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur: Rosh HaShana is a day of judgement for the entire planet. No matter if someone is Jewish or not - Jewish. Yom Kippur, however, is an entirely Jewish holiday because it only concerns the Jews and their final judgement.

Who then doesn't want to make a good impression before G - d ?
The month of Elul is a great opportunity for us of doing so. Sephardi Jews already start their Selichot prayers with the beginning of Elul. Ashkenazi Jews only start their Selichot on the Mozzaei Shabbat (Saturday night after Shabbat ends) before Rosh HaShana.

The month of ELUL is a time of looking back and return. Have we reached our goals during the year ? What mistakes did we make and how can we make everything better in the future ? Where have we failed and what did we accomplish ?

G - d is not interested in us being the most perfect people in the world. What He is interested in is that we realize our mistakes, regret and follow the intention to make everything better in the future.
Elul is the big month of Teshuva where we have to realize that there is more to this world than eat, drink, work and sleep. In Elul, Moshe went up to Mount Sinai in order to ask G - d for forgiveness for the Golden Calf. Elul is the month of awareness in connection with the sincere intention of correcting and perfecting oneself.

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