the Hebrew month of Elul 5779
Friday August 30, 2019
erev Rosh Chodesh Elul 5779
“Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, Saith the L-RD of hosts.”
- Malachi 3:7, JPS 1917 Tanach
According to the Talmud, teshuvah (repentance) was created before the beginning of the world (Nedarim 39b). This is derived from the following two pasukim (verses): “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art G-d. Thou turnest man to contrition; and sayest: ‘Return, ye children of men'” (Psalm 90:2-3, JPS 1917 Tanach).
What is the implied message of this Talmudic comment? It is as if to say, that the foresight of H’Shem compelled Him to provide man with the remedy before the sickness. Teshuvah is the cure, that was brought into existence as a potentiality, for man to enact upon the acknowledgment of his aveiros (sins), that would otherwise lead towards the sickness of the soul.
Beginning with the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul, the Jewish people are encouraged to enter an intense period of introspection, meant to turn the heart towards G-d through teshuvah. Thirty days constitute the prepatory time period, before Rosh HaShannah, traditionally known as the Jewish New Year. The day is also referred to as Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment. The day foreshadows the time of judgment at the end of the world. We prepare ourselves, ahead of time, so that we will not be judged harshly.
“Ketivah vachatimah tovah – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”