Friday, August 31, 2012

Elul 5643 First Ma'amar

The forty days between the giving of the Torah and Tisha B'Av marks a period during which the nation was on a very high level of holiness and closeness to God.  Chazal[1] teach us that the forty days between Rosh Chodesh Elul and Yom Kippur were also days of closeness to God.  During this period the nation repented for the sin of the golden calf.  Chazal[2] teach us that Moshe Rabbeinu himself left no stone unturned in heaven during this period to rectify the source of our souls.  

Rashi[3], based on Chazal[4], learns that every punishment that God renders includes a little of the sin of the golden calf.  The Sfas Emes notes that if the sin affects us to this day, certainly the repentance from the sin affects us as well. Furthermore, Chazal[5] teach us that penitents have an intensely strong desire to be close to God.  Their actions therefore have far reaching ramifications.  The nation and Moshe Rabbeinu, through their repentance and rectification, transformed the period preceding Yom Kippur into a time during which it is easy for us to repent and return to God.

May we merit taking advantage of this propitious period to return to God.

[1] Seder Olam 6 (viz. Rashi Shmos 33:11)
[2] Devarim R. 3:11
[3] Shmos 33:34
[4] Sanhedrin 102a
[5] Zohar 1:129b

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