Man blowing the shofar - there is a custom to sound the shofar every morning in Elul, there is a mitzvah to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah
Yerushalmi children dressed and ready for Yom Tov/Shabbos
This Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh Elul – the beginning of the month which leads to Rosh Hashanah.
The beginning of Elul opens up a time of great spiritual delight, taking account of where one is in life, the good, the bad, being real with oneself and planning steps forward.
Rav Tzvi Myer Zilberberg Shlita brings from the seofrim hakodoshim that HaShem sends down a great light in the days of Elul and Tishrei, which gives strength to one who is willing to take stock of their spiritual situation.
What does it mean spiritual situation? Relationship with family, friends, colleagues and of course with HaShem Himself. Taking stock of those traits which we know could use a little attention: impatience; anger; jealously; and such like. Enhancing our good traits and rejoicing in our spiritual successes: being caring, sharing, giving, loving, prayer, happiness, etc.
Elul is a great time for teshuva – often translated as repentance, and a terrible translation if ever there was one. Teshuva is to return, to return to HaShem, to return to the state of purity which our soul was given to us with. We can scrub off all the dirt and grime we have lumped on to ourselves over the year(s) and come out nice and clean for Rosh HaShanah.
More on teshuva or “Drying cleaning for the soul” can be found here
Then comes all the fun – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkos, Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. A month packed with days of holiness, days of awe – all the mitzvos, all the time with family and friends and G-d Himself.
Elul and Tishrei we have extra help in prayer, the gates are open, we just have to open our lips and speak!!
I am not going to have Internet access over the next few months, so I wanted to send a message to wish all the “Diabetic Jews” a Shana Tova, שנה טובה ומתוקה, and may you be written and sealed for a good year, כתיבה וחתימה טובה.
Don’t go over board on the honey and challa!!
Interestingly I was speaking with my Rov, who is a big Rov in Jerusalem, probably considered one of the most “strict” or “extreme” in terms of psak halacha (those words they throw around in the press) – very learned and very special. He said one must check every year again with the doctor and their Rabbi about fasting for Yom Kippur and never rely on experience, or ones own judgment. He said that it is not a mitzvah to fast when one should not be – it is a sin, and a mitzvah to eat if one needs to (obviously eating on YK can mean different things for different people, shiurim, etc). But to fast when it is not “ok’d” by the doctor and by your Rav is a sin if it is bad for you or damaging to your health, and who wants to make a sin on the day of atonement?!?
Enjoy the yomin tovim!!
Shopping for Esrogim
Rav Kenig Shlita of Tzfas, davening Rosh Hashanah in Uman
The Toldos Aharon Rebbe Shlita of Meah Shearim, Jerusalem
A person meets his friend after Rosh Hashana and asks him "Nu, so how did your Rosh Hashana go?"
He replies "It was beautiful. The baal tefila didn't leave a dry eye in the shul. The meals were full of divrei torah and zemiros. The afternoons we learned straight without dozing or schmoozing for a minute. The kids behaved like angels"
"Wow! Gevaldig. Sounds like it was perfect" his friend replies.
"Well almost perfect. The kid next to me in Shul couldn't stop making noise during Musaf and the father the "Groisse Tzaddik" was so busy shukling away that he didn't do anything besides keep shuckling. I had to shissss the kid half of Mussaf, besides that it was perfect.
To this Rav Tzvi Meir says, "Fool! That was your whole test of Rosh Hashana. Maybe your whole year depended on your reaction to the kid. The rest of Yom Tov was not your test!" This Rosh Hashana don't decide for yourself what Rosh Hashana is all about. Submit yourself to what the King of all Kings decides is your particular spiritual work.
שנה טובה גם לך ולמשפתך