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Here we stand after the deep solemn days of contemplation and repentance of the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av. Now with a period of rejoicing yet approaching of Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippor and climaxing with Succot. To prepare us further for these times we have Ellul. Elul is a time of introspection, repentance, reconciliation, and heightened spirituality a time to prepare to be judged and sentenced by God with what will be in the coming year, for you and the whole world. Elul is a time for personal growth. By “Teshuva” (repentance) they may take their Holy garment back. Just as we go from days of solitude to rejoicing at times. so is this pattern essential to learning. We see this in our Torah parsha.
In the parsha we are told again how Moshe went up to receive the tablets of the covenant for a second time. One major thing was different the 2nd time though as we are told that Moshe made the vessel, the ark in which to put the tablets of Stone. In the same way as Moshe prepared a vessel, the ark, for the tablets of stone. So did Hashem prepare all the people of Yisrael for their Divine mission. As we are told how Hashem led Yisrael 40 years in the desert to humble us, and try our hearts. As it is written ”And you shall remember all the way which the Yhv”h Elohech”a led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you, and let you hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord does man live.” (8:2-3) He fed us Mana to show that all is sustained by the Holiness of spirituality. This was Necessary so that among other reasons Yisrael would then be ready to enter aretz Yisrael fearlessly, and yet know that it wasn’t their strength that would deliver the land into their hands. This process of solemn preparation is Necessary to prepare one for reception of Holiness of the Torah in rejoicing. As we see that a cup must be clean for water to be poured into it and remain clean. Or as skin is cleaned with alcohol before a injection is given. One must prepare as vessel for Kidusha. As the Magid of Koznitz teaches אשר קדישנו means being invited to Holiness in a individual way as קדושין (marriage). One needs to be sanctified to their creator, as He Himself is Holy. One must prepare to be summoned to sanctify themselves in every moment so there will be received their prayer and Torah. They must be Holy. Sanctified by mitzvot (commandments).1
One must prepare themselves for the coming Holiness. For this we go from the solemn days of the 17th of Tamuz, 9th of Av and the days of Ellul. Rabbi Nachman of Bresslove teaches that the Woman (Shechinah) comes becouse of the aspect of Ellul. This is the ”kavana” (intent) of Ellul. רצון (will) is made in Ellul. From Ellul comes tikun of ”blemishing the Covenant-Brit”. Ellul is a time where one’s “cavana” (intention) is “running and returning”. This refers to our running into Holiness, filling our days of Ellul with activities that will bring us higher in Holiness. But not only do we “run” to the God but in the month which precedes the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah is the month called “Elul”, it is said concerning this time called “Ellul” that “the time the king is in the field.” At this time God, the King of Kings is accessible by all who go out into the fields of Holiness to find Him. “Ellul” is a acrostic (meaning that the first letters of the words of a verse spell it out ). The first letters of the words “Ani Ledodi V’Dodi Li” - ”I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me,” a quote from the Song of Love, or Shir HaShirim, by King Solomon in Hebrew spell our “Ellul”. As the verse alludes to Elul is a time of love. Avraham Abulafia teaches that if your heart runs return it to it’s place, by this is cut a covenant. By this way there is recieved 72 names.2 Moshe spent 40 days on Har Seni from Rosh Chodesh Ellul until Yom kippor. This is when he recieved the 2nd tablets. Ellul is the time for the”makiff” to become ”penimi”, creating a new beautiful garment called ”Chashmal”.3 From “teshuva” in “Ellul” there can be given to you the “Atz Chyim” (Tree of Life), which is the “ו” son of י”ה . Then you will be no longer called Servant, but “son of God”.1 This all brings us to Joyful Holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippor and Succot.
So let us fulfill as it is written in our parsha ”You take care to do all the commandments which I command you this day , that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers.” And “Every place where the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours; from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, to the uttermost sea shall be your border. There shall no man be able to stand before you; for the Yhv”h Elohecha”a shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that you shall tread upon, as he has said to you.(8:1,1124-25) In this blessing let us stand strongly against our enemies. Those within and without. So in all of this the people the Holy One has chosen ”as it is on this day”, meaning their seed after them forever will go from the exile of preparation to heights that we have never perceived with our righteous mashiach quickly in our days.
1. Sulam on Zohar Achray Mot p.61b
Avodat Yisrael p.34
2Safer ha Cheshek
3Lekuty Mahoran 6:3, p.45,#21, Sulam on Zohar Mishpotim p.115a, Kadoshim p.83a