By Avi Lazerson
month Elul is the month that precedes Rosh Hashanah. It is the last
month of the Jewish year. Since Rosh Hashanah is the time of judgment of
all mankind, Elul is the period of inner contemplation on the relationship
between man and G-d.
Our sages have
told us that Elul is the acronym for "ani l'dodi v'dodi le"
which means that "I am to my beloved, and my beloved is to me" a
passage from the "Song of Songs" by King Solomon.
ask at this point, if Elul is the time of inner reflection about our
relationship to G-d, what has romance from the "Song of Songs"
have to do here? Is not reflection and contemplation serious, whereas
romance and love are on the less serious side?
is that there are really two types of love. The first type of love is that
of young people who meet and "fall in love" with great passion
that sweeps them from logic and rationality. The second type of love is
that of a mature couple who after raising their family and marrying off
their children turn to one another to rekindle their original bliss.
really the first type of love. It is the youthful exuberance expressed in
G-d's taking us out from Egypt. Like young lovers, we knew not of our
future, we solely trusted G-d's judgment and our love. We dashed out of
the reality of Egypt to follow G-d into the burning desert like passionate
lovers are apt to do.
the second type of love. It has weathered the storms that come into life
and is now ready for the mature expression of love. The mature couple now
after emptying their house of their children now turn to each other in
expectation, "How did we do?"
Elul is that type of love.
to G-d after Passover, the time of passionate love, and after Shavuot, the
receiving of the Torah and the fulfillment of the commandments and we say,
"How did we do?"
mature couple now must face life together alone, the arguments of the past
must be healed, the disagreements must be smoothed over in order that love
can again blossom.
that period of time for our readjustment
to G-d. We must look into our behavior. In what manner is there the
possibility for improvement? What can we do to bring our relationship
v'dodi le" I am to my beloved. He is my beloved; it is not
a new romance but the rekindling of an old love. "V'dodi le" and
my beloved is to me. When I rekindle that romance to my beloved, then my
beloved will be aroused and turn his love to me.
the message of Elul. A time to rekindle "old" romances and bring
our love of G-d to a deeper level!
Avi Lazerson is a frequent contributor to the
Jewish Magazine, http://www.jewishmag.com