Rosh Chodesh Elul
This month is a time of self reflection and humility before God and His fall feasts leading to the Yom Kippur.
Starts on Friday 14th to Saturday 15th of our August, 2007
6 Elul - 29 days; Rosh Chodesh is 2 days
7 Tishrei - 30 days
These excerpts are from the Orthodox Union.
Moshe had gone up in the Month of Sivan, and returned after forty days and forty nights, on the 17th of Tammuz with the First Luchos. When Moshe observed the Jewish People sinning by creating and worshipping the Golden Calf, and participating in other sinful activities centered around the worship of that idol, he broke that first set of Luchos. He ascended Mount Sinai a second time, on the eighteenth day of Tammuz, the day after the great sin, and remained there for another forty days and forty nights, praying to G-d to spare the Jewish People and to return His full Presence among them.
At the conclusion of the second forty day and forty night period (that is, on the 29th of Av, Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul), G-d forgave the Jewish People and instructed Moshe to ascend Har Sinai yet again the next day, to receive the Second Luchos, on which would be inscribed for the second time the Ten Commandments. Moshe’s ascension to Har Sinai for the third time (which also took forty days and forty nights, ending on Yom Kippur) occurred on Rosh Chodesh Elul.
HaShem also restored His Presence to the Jewish People by authorizing the construction of the "Mishkan," the Temporary Structure which served as a "Residence," so to speak, for the Divine Presence, before the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem.
When Moshe went up the Second Time to receive the "Aseret HaDibrot," the "Ten Commandments," the Jewish People blew the Shofar in the Camp. They did this to impress upon themselves that Moshe had once again gone up the mountain of Sinai, so that they would not again make the tragic mistake in judging the time of Moshe's return, and fall again into Idol Worship.
Therefore, the Jewish People in later generations accepted upon themselves the custom of blowing the Shofar, beginning with Rosh Chodesh Elul to remind themselves that the people of Israel in the desert had sinned with the Egel, had repented, had been forgiven by G-d and restored to their former level of holiness. This would arouse in their hearts and minds the importance and the effectiveness of doing "Teshuvah."
Ashkenazic (Northern, Western and Eastern Europe) have the custom, beginning with the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, of reciting Chapter 27 of Tehilim (Psalms), beginning "By (King) David, 'The L-rd is my Light and my Salvation,' " until and including Hoshannah Rabbah.
This custom is based on the Medrash which links the "Light" of David, and the "Light" of all human beings, to Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Judgment, when by the light of the "neshamah," the soul, Hashem searches out the recesses and "hidden" areas of the human being. This idea is in turn based on the verse "The Lamp of Hashem is the human soul, which searches out all the recesses of his being." And the "Salvation" of David and of all human beings is linked to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Hashem atones for the sins of His creatures.
What is Elul?
"Elul" is the Sixth Month of the year, counting from "Nisan," called in the Chumash, "the first month." Counting from "Tishrei", the month of Rosh HaShanah, "Elul" is the twelfth, and last month in the year. Like the names of the other months of the Hebrew Calendar, "Elul came up", or "returned with," those Jews who returned to Israel from the 70-year Exile in Babylonia. The expression "returned with" is particularly significant in this case in that this is the month of "Return to Hashem," or "Repentance."
Elul is the name of the month which we are given each year to prepare for the "Days of Awe:"
Although we believe that G-d always watches over the world, and is always waiting for our "return," we also believe that, in a sense, He is more accessible during the 40-day period beginning with the start of Elul and culminating in the first ten days of the Month of Tishrei. Those days, known as the "Ten Days of Repentance," begin with "Rosh HaShanah," and end with "Yom Kippur."
I wanted you to see the Jewish themes behind these special days. You can not understand the prophecies in the New Testament without understanding these very important themes in the Old. The Book was written by Jews, Jesus was a Jew, Paul was a Jew and spoke in Jewish themes and terms.
What does the name Elul mean?
"Elul" has been interpreted as an acronym, with its Hebrew letters "Aleph," "Lamed," "Vav," "Lamed" representing the words "Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li" (Song of Songs: 6,3).
The words mean "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine," where my "Beloved" is G-d, and "I" am the Jewish People.
Zodiac Sign of the Month
The Zodiac Sign of the Month is the "Maiden," because of the verse, (Yirmiyahu 31:20), "…Return, O Maiden of Israel, return to these cities of yours!" Because this month is set aside for return to G-d and Repentance.
Significance of Astrology in Judaism
Historical Background of "Elul"
1. According to Jewish tradition, the World was created by G-d on the twenty-fifth of Elul, according to the opinion in the Talmud of Rabbi Eliezer, whose opinion is followed generally in connection with questions of astronomical and cosmological (having to do with the "cosmos," or the entire universe) matters. And according to the Biblical narrative in the beginning of the Bible (Bereshit 1:1-31), Original Man and Original Woman were created six Days after the Creation of the Universe. The "Day of Creation" of the first human beings is called "Rosh HaShanah." Hence, it follows that the "Day of Creation" of the Universe was the twenty-fifth of Elul.
2. According to Jewish tradition, it was on the 17th of Elul, that the spies who gave the tragic and catastrophic report about Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), died, as the Bible says in BaMidbar (14:37), "The Men who gave a bad report concerning "The Land" died in a plague before G-d."
Rabbi Elazar son of Parta said, "Come and see how great is the negative power of evil speech and consequently the greatness of the punishment that it brings! We learn this lesson from the spies. For they slandered only trees and stones (the Land of Israel) - how much worse is the punishment if someone slanders a human being!"
3. In the Book of Nechemiah (6:15), we find, "And the wall was finished on the 25th of Elul, after fifty two days." Continued
When the enemies realized that their military attacks were to no avail, they attempted to trap Nechemiah by encouraging him to meet with them, where they would do away with him, he saw through their attempts, as it says, "Then Sanballat sent me the same message with his servant, with an open letter in his hand. In it were written these words: 'It has been heard among the nations, and Geshem confirms it, that you and the Jews plan to rebel, and that is why you are building the wall; and that you are becoming their king, and similar things; and that you have also set up prophets to proclaim about you in Jerusalem, 'There is a king in Judah!' Now these things will be heard by the king! So now, let us come and take counsel together!" (Nechemiah 6:5-7)
But Nechemiah responded, "I sent word to him, saying, 'These things that you say have never happened; you have fabricated them from your heart! For you all try to frighten us, saying, 'Let the resolve of their hands for doing the work be weakened, so that it will not be done.' But now you strengthen my hand!" (Nechemiah 6:8-9)
When the wall was successfully rebuilt, a great "Kiddush Hashem" "Sanctification of G-d's Name" occurred. As we read, "The wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, after fifty-two days. It happened that when all our enemies heard this, and all the nations around us saw, they fell greatly in their own eyes, for they realized that this work was accomplished by our G-d." (Nechemiah 6:15-16)
What are Sin and Repentance?
"Sin" or "Chet" in Hebrew, means "failure in our relationship with HaShem (G-d)."
Our goal should be to continually move closer to G-d, But "chet" is behavior which causes us to move away from G-d.
"Repentance" or "Teshuvah" in Hebrew, means "Return."
In this context, it means "Return to G-d" and to behavior required of us by G-d.
While we deeply regret our movement away from G-d, we should not despair. Rather, we should bear in mind the verse written by King Solomon, the "wisest of men," in the Book of Kohelet (7,20),
"There is no one
So righteous in the world,
Who does only good,
And does not sin."