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sounding a shofar at a synagogue in Minnesota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Elul is the name of the last of 12 months in the Jewish Calendar.
Elul is not mentioned in the Bible.
Most years it begins in August of the secular calendar. In 2013, it begins at sundown on August 6.
Traditionally, it is a time for looking back over the year past, taking stock, and making apologies and amends for mistakes and wrongs.
For religiously observant Jews, it is a time for
(click the link for more about teshuvah teshuvah.) Both of these forms of retrospection are a preparation for the
High Holy Days. During Elul many synagogues sound a blast on the
[ram’s horn] at morning services. The sound of the shofar is said to awake the sleeping soul. shofar Many observant Jews also recite
Psalm 27 every day from 1 Elul through Hoshana Rabbah, the end of Sukkot.
, special services of penitential prayers, are offered during Elul. Selichot Many Jews visit the graves of relatives or friends during Elul. It is a form of respect for the dead, and also a reminder that our lives are finite (a theme of the High Holy Days.)
A greeting for Elul is
“K’tiva chatimah tovah” – “May you be written and sealed for good.” This is a reference to one of the major metaphors of the High Holy Days, the Book of Life. For more about Elul, check out
this article by Rabbi Reuven Hammer.
It’s Almost Fall, Isn’t It? (womensrabbinicnetwork.wordpress.com)
The Month Elul in Kabbalah (thevoiceofwarning.wordpress.com)