Whispers from the Clouds of Elul

What is the hidden message that the clouds of Elul whisper to us at the end of the summer?

ShmuelSummer in the Galilee is almost over. I know, because on my way to synagogue this morning the sky was overcast.

jordan river raftingAll summer long the skies have been clear, sunny and hot. And for the last few weeks, it seems the entire country has been splashing in the Kinneret, bathing at a beach on the Mediterranean or rafting down the Jordan River.

But as we move further into the month of Elul you can literally feel a change in the air.

The Hebrew calendar was the first commandment given to the Nation of Israel while we were still in Egypt. (Exodus 12:2) The unique Lunar Month/Solar Year calendar was intended to be observed in the Land of Israel. It reflects the natural agricultural cycle of the Land (eg. Sukkot is the time of harvest). But it also reflects the SPIRITUAL cycle in the year as well.

We are approaching the New Year, Rosh HaShanah (anniversary of the creation of Humanity), which is a time to repair and renew our relationship with our Creator. The month of Elul is a gift to use as a time for introspection about our relationship with God. “How is my relationship with God?”, “What did I do this past year that harmed my relationship with Him that I regret and want to leave behind?” , “What do I want to work on this year to help improve my relationship?”

In Torah, we often compare God to the Sun and the Children of Israel to the Moon. The blinding intensity of the summer sun in the month of Av makes us want to physically run away from it and seek shelter in the shade or cool off in the water. Often, in times of trouble, instead of seeking shelter in God, we try to find “physical” solutions to our problems.

When the clouds of Elul return, it is as if God is telling us, “Here is some shade for you my child. Take some time to think about what your life is really all about. I love you dearly and am constantly here for you and only want to have a relationship with you. But as for the quality of the relationship you have with Me, I leave in your hands.”

May we all use these days left in the month of Elul to appreciate our relationship with the Almighty and choose to put ourselves on a path for a spiritually happy and meaningful New Year.

Whispers from the Clouds of Elul

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