By: Herschel Karp (11th Grade)
We have just recently entered the month of Elul. This is an auspicious time where, as we know, Hamelech Basadeh, the king is coming in the field to greet his subjects. This Mashal is referring to Hashem, who comes down to Bnei Yisrael during the month of Elul. That being said, we have a unique opportunity to elevate our Avodas Hashem and increase our connection with Him just in time for the High Holidays. This is a time where one can really become one with Hashem and experience a deep spiritual connection. But what happens if you cannot feel this special bond between you and Hashem? How are we supposed to serve Him in an even stronger manner if we do not feel a connection?
The answer can be found through the name of the month itself. The Rashei Tevos for Elul are “Ani Ledodi Vdodi Li,” which means “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” This phrase comes from the book Shir Hashirim, which is a Megillah read on Pesach. The word “dod,” translated to “beloved,” can also mean something else. In Hebrew, this word means uncle, but what is the significance of that?
In the Halachos of marital relations, it is taught that the closest relative you are allowed to marry is your uncle, which means that it is possible to be related to your spouse both through blood and through marriage. A powerful lesson can be learnt from this idea. Our relationship with Hashem is twofold, similar to the situation of an uncle and a husband. There is Ahavas Shel Mayim and Ahavas Shel Esh, love of fire and water. The second form of love through Hashem is love you would experience toward a spouse, or any sort of romantic relationship. This type of love is rooted in emotion and feeling. However, there is still another type of love, that is just as important. Even if we are not feeling emotionally attached to Hashem, we still have to love Hashem like one would a relative. Although one may not be attached to their siblings on a deeper level, one still has a natural love for them. So too, with Hashem, although we do choose him come Rosh Hashanah, we still have to experience the type of love one has with a sibling as well. We have to realize that we are completely connected to Hashem, even more so in Elul, whether we realize it or not.
Chodesh Tov, and may this year’s Elul increase our connection with Hashem in both facets of love.