Sign In Forgot Password


09/23/2022 01:47:48 PM


As we are still in the month of Elul, the month that puts us in the mood for Rosh Hashanah, I would like to repeat one of my favourite divrei torahs.

You see, in Hebrew the word "elul" is comprised of 4 letters: 'aleph, lamed, vav, lamed.  So, over the years, rabbis found allusions to certain verses which they felt are alluded to in those letters.  This is what we call an "acronym."

One popular one is an allusion to the verse from the Song. of Songs: "'Ani Ledodi Ve-dodi Li," meaning "I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me."  According to the well known midrash, that "my Beloved" refers to God, it means that first I must make the effort to do what HaShem wants of me, and then, my Beloved, i,e, HaShem, will respond to me.

Another popular allusion is from, of all places, the Book of Esther, "'Ish Lere`eihu Umatanot La-'evyonim." In other words, as the High Holidays approach, we must be concerned about dealing properly with our friends and neighbors and with giving tsedaka to the poor. 

Yet, not as well known, but most appropriate, is a phrase from the Book of Exodus, describing the city of refuge, to where a person who had killed someone accidentally can flee. The acronym is 'Inah Leyado

Vesamti Lekha." My interpretation of the relevance of this verse is as follows:

The vast majority of the people with whom we come into contact are good people. Yet people will often say or do something that might cause me great anguish, and I might get so mad at that person that I might say: "I will never forgive him/her." Perhaps the month of Elul, as a prelude to Rosh HaShanah, can teach us to be sensitive that so-and-so's perceived slights against us could have been caused by misunderstanding. 

And may we all have a good, healthy year. Shalom `al Yisrael.

Shabbat shalom, Rabbi Menahem White, 

Sun, April 2 2023 11 Nisan 5783