Elul – Chodesh Tov

August 21, 2020

It’s Rosh Chodesh Elul . A time for teshuvah, tefillah, & tzedakah as we enter the Yamim Noraim, Days of Awe. From now until Yom Kippur, it is customary to wish each other “ketiva v’chatima tova” – may you be inscribed and sealed for a happy and healthy new year.

Elul - ani l'dodi v'dodi li 
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine

As the month of divine mercy and forgiveness, Elul is a most opportune time for teshuvah (“return” to HaShem), prayer, charity, and increased ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew and our fellow beings), in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to HaShem. 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, showing a smiling face to them all.” (Source: https://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/293704/jewish/Elul-Observances-in-a-Nutshell.htm)

In Elul, HaShem acts charitably toward us by being especially accessible to hear our prayers. We ask for forgiveness, and HaShem hears our pleas. HaShem’s mercy is aroused when we behave to our fellow in the way that HaShem behaves toward us. So when we give charitably, HaShem gives charitably to us.

May HaShem look favorably on us all and grant us relief from COVID and a ketiva v’chatima tova – that we are each inscribed and sealed for a happy and healthy new year.

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