The month of Elul is approaching and with it the High Holidays when each of us has to take stock of ourselves. In order to properly take advantage of the days of Elul, it is necessary to make a halt from our tumultuous life, and delve deep into ourselves.
In his talk, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto gave his students a glimpse into the inner world of the month of Elul and the paths leading to achieving the potential of these days.
"The month of Elul has great significance," Rabbi Pinto said at the beginning of his words. He explained: "Before a person can act and do something, he must first have the willpower to do the thing. A person’s decision is the step before the act."
Rabbi Pinto continued: "This is the power of the month of Elul. A person naturally looks at the actions he has done, those that are better and those that are worse. He usually focuses on improving his daily actions - what they are, which he had improved and which he had made worse from the previous year. But if a person goes to the root and beginning of things, to the source where everything started, it will be easier to repent and correct one’s daily actions."
"This is the power of the month of Elul. We go back to the source where everything started, to God’s initial desire to create the world. At that time God especially dealt with the world with the qualities of kindness and mercy. In our world, we judge and convict a person for every evil deed, but in heaven, it is a time of kindness and mercy."
Therefore, the sages say that the acronym of Elul is Ani l’dodi v’dodi li - “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me."
"There are two types of love and concern: parents who love and care for their child will watch him and make sure that he prays, studies, eats properly and eats with manners. Their extreme concern often makes a child feel his parents are pressuring and smothering him."
"But there is a different kind of love, that of a beloved friend (dodi from the term yedid, “friend”). A beloved friend does not stand over a person and deal with him strictly. He ignores many things the person does and has deep affection for him due to their friendship."
Rabbi Pinto added that, "This is the significance of the month of Elul. The Almighty recalls His original motivation to build the world and the lofty reasons for which He created the world, without considering how well His creations are keeping His many civil laws, ritual laws, customs, and fundamentals that He gave them later on.
The month of Elul reverts to His initial Will, in which He once again views mankind as a beloved friend. It is a time of unconditional togetherness and love, without criticism."
"Therefore, the lofty accomplishments we are expected to do during the month of Elul are fully attainable. If we do what we are supposed to, we will be ready to enter Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, on the 1st of Tishrei - the day of the Creation of the universe," Rabbi Pinto concluded.
This article was written in cooperation with Shuva Israel