Shir HaShirim (aka Song of Songs, aka Song of Solomon, aka Canticles, probably aka a few other things as well) 6:3 famously says, “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li” – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” It has been pointed out that the initials of the words in this phrase spell out “Elul” – the month of introspection, in which we prepare ourselves spiritually for the Days of Awe, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The connection is obvious. Shir HaShirim is on the surface a love song about a man and a woman but it is also a profound metaphor for the love between God and the Jewish people. Elul is the time when we work on drawing closer to God; when we do that, He draws closer to us.
Did you ever hear that the month of Marcheshvan is called “mar” (bitter) because it’s the only month with no holidays? Well, look at a calendar – there aren’t any holidays in Elul, either! But Elul doesn’t need any because it’s Elul, a special time in its own right! Elul is so special that it’s the only month that warrants its own category in OU Holidays. Sure, we may have a few articles about Av or Adar, but they fit nicely in our general Months category. But Elul? We have seven pages of articles!
We have some new features to start your Elul off right: The Power of Elul by Rabbi Yochanan Bechhofer and VaYigdal Moshe on Rosh Chodesh Elul by Rav Mosheh Twersky HY”D. Other current features include Elul: Growth and Change by Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and Introduction to the Month of Elul by Rabbi Eliyahu Ferrell. You’ll also find information on The Month of Elul and Rosh Chodesh Elul from the intrepid OU Web Staff.
We’ll be changing features every week or so, not just for Elul but through Rosh Hashana, Tzom Gedaliah, the Aseres Y’mei Teshuvah, Yom Kippur, Succos, Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, so check in on OU Holidays frequently. (Whew! That’s quite a pace! After Simchas Torah, it’ll be Marcheshvan, so we’ll get a breather then. No holidays, you know!)