This “Essence” is taken from the Sourcebook for Leaders, written by Rabbi Lavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem. Gartner and Barbara Berley Melits, for The new moon, which marks the beginning of the Jewish month. According to tradition, because women did not participate in the sin of the golden calf, they were given the holiday of Rosh Chodesh. It is customary for women not to work on Rosh Chodesh.: It’s a Girl Thing! This experiential program was created by Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies to strengthen the Jewish identity and self-esteem of adolescent girls through monthly celebrations of the New Moon festival. The program is now available through Moving Traditions.
Elul is the sixth of the twelve months in the Jewish Calendar.
Elul comes at the same time as the secular months of August/September.
The Good fortune, luck, and the Hebrew sign of the Zodiac. (constellation) for Elul is Virgo (betulah) a young, independent woman.
It is taught that the Hebrew letters ELUL (aleph, lamed, vav, lamed) are an acronym for the verse from Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs), Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li – I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. In Elul we celebrate women’s ability to maintain our independence, individuality, and uniqueness at the same time that we enter into relationships and recommit ourselves to those we love.
Elul is a time of intense spiritual preparation for the coming year and the upcoming High Holy Days (in Tishrei).
In Aramaic (the language spoken by Jews living at the time that the months were given names), the word “Elul” means “search.” Elul is a time to search our hearts.
It is customary to:
Blow the A ram's horn that is blown on the High Holidays to "wake us up" and call Jews to repentance. It is also said that its blast will herald the coming of the messiah. every morning (except on Shabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends.) from Rosh Hodesh Elul until the day before The Jewish New Year, also considered the Day of Judgment. The period of the High Holidays is a time of introspection and atonement. The holiday is celebrated with the sounding of the shofar, lengthy prayers in synagogue, the eating of apples and honey, and round challah for a sweet and whole year. Tashlikh, casting bread on the water to symbolize the washing away of sins, also takes place on Rosh Hashana.. The blasts are meant to awaken our spirits and inspire us to begin the soul searching which prepares us for the High Holy Days. As part of this preparation, Elul is the time to begin the sometimes-difficult process of granting and asking for forgiveness.
According to tradition, The quintessential Jewish leader who spoke face to face with God, unlike any other prophet, and who freed the people from Egypt, led them through the desert for forty years, and received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. His Hebrew name is Moshe. went up to Mount According to the Torah, God, in the presence of the Jewish people, gave Moses the Torah on Mount Sinai (Har Sinai). on Rosh Hodesh Elul to receive the second set of tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. The quintessential Jewish leader who spoke face to face with God, unlike any other prophet, and who freed the people from Egypt, led them through the desert for forty years, and received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. His Hebrew name is Moshe. then spent the next 40 days on the mountain, returning to the people on The holiest day of the Jewish year and the culmination of a season of self-reflection. Jews fast, abstain from other worldly pleasures, and gather in prayers that last throughout the day. Following Ne'ilah, the final prayers, during which Jews envision the Gates of Repentance closing, the shofar is sounded in one long blast to conclude the holy day. It is customary to begin building one's sukkah as soon as the day ends.. The first time Moshe went up to the mountain the people worshipped the Golden Calf because they miscalculated the 40 day period after which they expected Moshe to return. When Moshe did not come down at the appointed time, the people created the Golden Calf to lead them in his stead. Tradition teaches that when Moshe went up to the mountain the second time, a shofar was sounded throughout the encampment, so everyone would know exactly from when to begin counting the 40 days until his return.
Recite psalm 27 every day from Rosh Hodesh Elul through the middle of Lit. Booths or huts Sukkot is the autumn harvest Festival of Booths, is celebrated starting the 15th of the Jewish month of Tishrei. Jews build booths (sukkot), symbolic of the temporary shelters used by the ancient Israelites when they wandered in the desert. Traditionally, Jews eat and sleep in the sukkah for the duration of the holiday (seven days in Israel and eight outside of Israel). The lulav (palm frond), willow, myrtle, and etrog fruit are also waved together. (in Tishrei). Psalm 27 begins with the words “God is my light and my helper, whom shall I fear?” The challenging spiritual work of Elul is made easier when we feel that God is with us as we strive to bring out the best in ourselves.
Recite selichot – special penitential prayers – either every morning just before sunrise during the week before Rosh HaShanah (Jew of Eastern European descent. The term also refers to the practices and customs associated with this community, often in contrast to Sephardic (Southern European) traditions. tradition) or every morning during the entire month of Elul (Jews of Spanish descent; sometimes used to describe Jews of North-African and Middle-Eastern descent. The term also describes the customs and practices of these Jews, often in comparison to those of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews. tradition). Jew of Eastern European descent. The term also refers to the practices and customs associated with this community, often in contrast to Sephardic (Southern European) traditions. Jews begin the recitation of selichot with a special service held at midnight on the Saturday before Rosh HaShanah.
Visit the graves of loved ones throughout the month in order to remember and honor those people in our past who inspire us to live more fully in the future.
Begin all letters written during the month of Elul with wishes that the recipient have a good year. Others write that expressing these wishes can be done at the end of the letter as well. The standard blessing is K’tiva V’Chatima Tova (a good writing and sealing), meaning that the person should be written and sealed in the Book of Life.
In Europe, Elul arrived when the plums were purple and ripe and the pears were ready for picking. Jews called Elul the time of the “Flaumen un die Beren” (the plums and pears). In Yiddish these two words have additional meanings: “Flaumen” means flames, and “Beren” means to burn. Thus Elul is a time to search our hearts, and to seek God with fiery, burning intensity. Enjoy plums and pears as you do so!