Monday, 9 September 2019
Last Sunday was Rosh Chodesh Elul, the head of the month of Elul. Elul is the last month of the Hebrew civil year (and the sixth month of the year if you count from Nisan, the religious New Year). It is the month leading up to the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Because of this, the month of Elul is a time for repentance and introspection. In fact, the month of Elul and the first ten days of the following month, Tishrei, (Days of Awe) together form a forty day period of examining your life and heart in preparation for these High Holy Days.
During this month, many Jewish traditions will begin each day (other than Shabbat) with the blowing of the shofar as a call to mindfulness and repentance. Each day Jewish people will read Psalm 27 and, towards the end of the month, special prayers of repentance and asking for forgiveness (Shelichot) are prayed in the mornings, often in the wee hours of the morning.
Jewish tradition holds that the Hebrew letters that form the name for the month of Elul, alef-lamed-vav-lamed, are also an acronym for the famous phrase from Song of Songs, "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li; I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine". Elul is an opportunity to return (teshuva) to HaShem and renew that relationship of "Beloved" between HaShem and His people.
As Disciples of Yeshua we are familiar with the concept that we are the Bride and that He is the Bridegroom. "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li" is this relationship of Messiah and His Bride. Throughout the Scriptures, we are instructed to prepare ourselves for the Bridegroom's return - and we see a picture of His return in the Fall Feasts, beginning with the Day of Trumpets, Yom Teruah, on the first day of Tishrei (also called Rosh Hashanah). It is surely no mistake that this month of preparing our hearts is leading us to this day! So what will you be doing to make yourself ready?