The Hebrew month of Elul, the last month of this year (Hebrew calendar) begins at sunset on Aug 18 and continues through nightfall on Aug. 19th. The month of Elul is the month of repentence, leading up to Selichot and the High Holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
According to tradition, the month of Elul is the time that Moses spent on Mount Sinai preparing the second set of tablets after the incident of the golden calf (Ex. 32; 34:27-28). He ascended on Rosh Chodesh Elul and descended on the 10th of Tishri, at the end of Yom Kippur, when repentance was complete. Other sources say that Elul is the beginning of a period of 40 days that Moses prayed for G-d to forgive the people after the Golden Calf incident, after which the commandment to prepare the second set of tablets was given.*
From the second day of Elul to the 28th day, the shofar (a hollowed out ram's horn) is blown after morning services every weekday (it is not blown on Shabbat).
Elul is also a time to begin the process of asking forgiveness for wrongs done to other people. According to Jewish tradition, G-d cannot forgive us for sins committed against another person until we have first obtained forgiveness from the person we have wronged. This is not as easy a task as you might think, if you have never done it. This process of seeking forgiveness continues through the Days of Awe.
Many people visit cemeteries at this time, because the awe-inspiring nature of this time makes us think about life and death and our own mortality. And, many people use this time to check their mezuzot and tefillin for defects that might render them invalid.
Chapter 27 of the Book of Psalms is added to the daily prayers, in the morning and afternoon.
These are just a few offerings from some members of the EtsyChai team.
|Kiddush Cup||Chai Pendant|
|Cream and Gold Yarmulke||Star of David Beaded Kippah|
|Book of Life Pendant||Tree of Life Wall Hanging|
|Challah Serving Platter||Tree of Life Necklace|
When writing a letter or meeting one another, we bless one anotherby including the greeting Ketivah vachatimah tovah—which roughly translates as “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
The EtsyChai team extends “Ketivah vachatimah tovah” to everyone.
By Linda Blatchford
*Source: Judaism 101