Preparing for High Holidays during Elul

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“God. I want to break down every barrier that separates me from You. I want to lay out before You the parts of myself I love, and the parts I despise; the parts of myself that are healthy, and the parts that need healing; the parts I feel secure enough to speak of, and the insecurities I haven’t the courage to share.”

The Gentle Weapon by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

The month of Elul has been a time for teshuvah, self-reflection & repentence, for more than 3,000 years.

According to tradition, it was on the 1st day of Elul that Moses ascended Mount Sinai to pray for God to forgive the Children of Israel for building the golden calf. Forty days later, on the 10th day of Tishri, Yom Kippur, Moses descended the mountain with the second set of tablets.

elul selichot GRAPHIC

Even the name of the month designated for teshuvah is steeped in meaning. Elul, spelled in Hebrew “Aleph-Lamed-Vav-Lamed” is said to be an acronym of the Song of Songs verse, “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li” – “ I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” – where the Beloved is God and the I is the Jewish people. And, in Aramaic, the word “Elul” means “search,” which is appropriate, given that this is the time of the year when we must search our hearts.

If our teshuvah, during the month of Elul & the first 10 days of Tishri, were carried out as Jewish tradition envisioned, then preparing for Yom Kippur would surpass preparing for Passover in degree of difficulty. The pre-Yom Kippur inner cleansing is certainly more challenging than the pre-Pesach external scouring.

 

Join us as we prepare for the High Holy Days with our Elul Immersion class on Wednesday September 6 at 7:00 PM.

 

Related >>>> History of Rosh Codesh Elul