Elul: A Time for Reflection

Elul is a time to come closer to God.  This is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. According to the Talmud, the Hebrew word Elul is taken from the Songs of songs 6:3, “I am my beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” It is also believed that the word Elul means search in Aramaic which means that this is the perfect time to search our hearts and reflect on our goals in life.

There are several rituals followed in preparation for the High Holidays.

  • Except on Shabbat, it is customary to blow the shofar everyday after the morning prayers. This is done to remind us of the coming Day of Judgment and to call us to repentance.
  • Elul is a time to ask for forgiveness to God and to other people for our wrongdoings. God will not forgive us from our sins until we have received forgiveness from the people we have wronged.
  • Some people visit cemeteries during this time to honor and remember their departed loved ones.
  • Selichot (prayers for forgiveness) is recited in the morning before the sacharit service.
  • Psalm 27 is also recited in the morning and evening services from Rosh Chodesh  Elul to Hoshanah Rabbah on Sukkot.

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