Today we are celebrating “ROSH KHODESH” – the new moon of the month of ELUL – ראש חודש אלול and we wanted to share with you a few thoughts about this month.
Elul is the last month ending the 12-month cycle that starts with the coming month of Tishrey.
In the Torah, similarly to the days of the week, which do not have specific names, as those are counted in relation to the seventh day (Shabbat):
First Day (from Shabbat) – “Yom Rishon”,
Second Day (from Shabbat) – “Yom Sheny”, etc.,
The Hebrew months also do not have specific names and are counted in relation to the months of redemption from Egypt – Nissan, which is called:
The First Month – החודש הראשון
Later in the history the names of the months of the Jewish calendar were adopted after returning from the Babylonian exile.
The names of the Hebrew months in use nowadays in Modern Hebrew are actually Babylonian month names.
The name Elul – אלול has the Aramaic root אלל meaning “to search”.
And the month of Elul is the time for everyone (before the Hebrew New Year – ראש השנה) to make an extra effort, search, discover and be empowered by one’s internal good virtues and strength, so that we can go an extra mile and do a lot more good for the others as well as for ourselves.
Making a necessary extra effort in discovering and developing our inner strengths prepares us for fighting the next battle.
The following story by Paulo Coelho demonstrates the virtue and the benefit of an internal extra effort.
A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it.
After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away.
Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shriveled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced.
When we get the wrong sort of help, we are left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manage to fly off to our destiny.
שבת שלום וחודש טוב
Shabbat Shalom Ve’Khodesh Tov
Yoel & Orly