We are in the middle of the month of Elul, which ushers us into the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
In a talk that Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto gave to his students, he explained the meaning of these special days and how we should take advantage of them.
"We are in the month of Elul, which leads into the month of Tishrei and the High Holidays," said Rabbi Pinto. "A person should know that these two months are indicative of two types of serving God."
Rabbi Pinto explained: "In the month of Elul, we serve God with love and mercy, while the month of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur, are times when we serve God out of fear. Serving God out of love and mercy cannot be compared to serving God out of fear. These months are like two keys that each opens a different door. You cannot open the door of 'Love' with the key of 'Fear', and you cannot open the door of 'Fear' with the key of 'Love.'
Rabbi Pinto elucidated, "When a person wants to go on a path of light, which is the true and correct path in the service of God, he will work on himself during the days of Elul. He will utilize the time of “I am to my Beloved and my Beloved is to me” (the initials of these Biblical words spell “Elul”), to worship God and return to Him out of love and mercy."
Rabbi Pinto continued: "The month of Elul is the time when the King of Kings comes out of His palace and 'God is near to all who call Him in truth.' A person who meditates and prepares himself during the month of Elul will be ready for the month of Tishrei with the requisite emotion of awe and fear for these exalted and awe-inspiring days of judgment. He will have utilized this month in the very best way."
This article was written in cooperation with Shuva Israel