Thursday, August 20, 2009

אני לדודי ודודי לי

Tonight begins the month of Elul. The sages pointed out that Elul can be read as an acronym for Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li--"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." (Song. 6:3) This is the spirit of Elul--a time of soul-searching, reconsecration to God, and preparation for the high holy days.

In twenty-eight days we will hear the sound of the shofar, summoning us before the Ribono shel Olam. In twenty-eight days we will reverently acknowledge the Holy One as King over all.

But the proclamation that God is King cannot be made lightly. Psalm 99:4 describes Hashem as the mighty King "who loves justice." And in this week's Torah portion, Shoftim, God tells the people of Israel, "Justice, justice, you shall pursue." (Deut. 16:20)

The Reform prayerbook Gates of Prayer says it well:
A people which seriously calls God Himself its King must become a true people, a community where all members are ruled by honesty without compulsion, kindness without hypocrisy, and the brotherliness of those who are passionately devoted to their divine leader. When social inequality, distinction between the free and the unfree, splits the community and creates chasms between its members, there can be no true people, there can be no 'God's people'. (#30, p.13-14)
A true king will call his subjects to account. Thus, the month of Elul is dedicated to searching and preparing ourselves to stand before God and reaffirm the ancient declaration of His kingship: Hashem Melech L'Olam Va'ed.

1 comment:

Yahnatan Lasko said...

For more on this theme, as well as a hint about how Rosh Hashanah connects to Mashiach, I encourage you to read Elul: A Month of Love and Preparation at the Yinon blog. Yinon is written by Rabbi Joshua and Monique Brumbach, young leaders in the Messianic Jewish movement. They recently relocated from the LA area to the DC area.