Friday, September 16, 2011
Elul 5641 First Ma'amar
"אני לדודי ודודי לי/I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me" (Shir HaShirim 6:3) Commentaries on this pasuk note that the first letters of each word spell out the word אלול/Elul. What is the significance of this? What is the connection between the words of the pasuk and the month of Elul?
Chazal teach us that the 120 day period starting with Shavuos and culminating with receiving the second luchos on Yom Kippur was a very significant one in our history. We received the Torah on Shavuos and Moshe Rabbeinu spent the next forty days on
Mount Sinai. On 17 Tamuz, the nation sinned with the golden calf. Moshe Rabbeinu broke the luchos habris and spent the next forty days supplicating God on behalf of the nation.
Chazal teach us that the first and last forty day periods were exemplified by God's good will towards us. They were days of ratzon. The middle period were days of anger. However, there was a difference between the ratzon of the first period and that of the last. The good will that God showed towards us during the first period was an undeserved gift. The Sfas Emes teaches that God's good will towards the nation during the last forty day period was not gratis. It was not an undeserved gift. Rather, it was the direct result of the nation's move to repent during this period. The nation deserved God's grace during this last period.
The high spiritual level that we reached after the Exodus culminating in the receiving of the Torah on Shavuos was an undeserved gift from God. This did not, could not last. A new awakening that came from within us was necessary. This happened during the forty period beginning on Rosh Chodesh Elul and ending on Yom Kippur.
"אני לדודי/I am for my beloved" represents our longing to make amends and experience God. This is the necessary prerequisite for, "ודודי לי/and my beloved is for me." We turned to God so God turned, as it were, to us. This is a relationship that will last forever. This is the reason that these are days of good will, of razton, even now thousands of years later.
God sits in judgment specifically during this season because it is a time of good will forever.
Receiving a gift is a joyous occasion but the joy is incomplete. Because a gift is undeserved, there is always an element of shame involved. There is no greater joy than receiving what is deserved. It was through our merit that Moshe Rabbeinu returned on Yom Kippur with the second luchos. The joy of receiving the Torah on Yom Kippur was a complete joy.
May we take advantage of this period to come close to God and may we and the entire nation of
merit a kesiva vachasima tova. AMEN! Israel