1. The sign of the Zodiac for Ellul (virgo) in conjunction with the words of Jeremiah (31:20), suggests the atmosphere of repentance throughout the month (See General Introduction ).
  2. God accepts the truly penitent who wants to return to him at any time thoughout the year, but the days of Ellul are more appropriate as they are days of mercy.
  3. 'Seek God when he is available, call on him when he is near (Isaiah 55:6). The time when God is both available and near is in the Ten Days of Repentance (the first ten days of Tishri), but the preceding period, the month of Ellul, are set for examining one's conscience and returning to the right way (i.e. repenting).
  4. Ellul in hebrew can be regarded as an acronym of the first four Hebrew words of the Song of Songs 6:3, 'I belong to my loved and my loved one is mine', where 'my loved one' is interpreted allegorically to ve a reference to God, an 'I' to refer to Israel.
    (Each of these four Hebrew words ends in the letter yod , which in gematria has the numerical value of ten, four tens make forty, and this is said to refer to the forty days of repentance from the first of Ellul to the tenth of Tisri).
    If I belong to God, and show this by repenting with love and returning to thim, then he is mine, he receives me with mercy.
  5. Ellul is the last month of the departing year, the time when a person reviews his deeds during the past year for the purpose of improving himself in the future. The name Ellul is appropriate, because in Aramaic it means 'to explore' (see Onkelos's translation of latur in Numbers 13:17), to investigate the faults in our behaviour and rectify them.
  6. The Selihot prayers are based on the 'Thirteen Virtues' (Exodus 34:6-7). According to Rabbi Yochanan, God dressed himself as a Reader of the congregation and explained to Moses the order of praying, saying "Whenever Israel sins they sould follow this prayer routine and I will forgive them."
  7. Blowing the shofar during Ellul arouses people's minds and warns them of the approaching 'Days of Awe'. 'If a shofar is blown in a town, do the people not tremble?' (Amos 3:6)
  8. It was on the seventeenth of Ellul that the spies who brought back a distorted report on the Land of Canaan dies. (See Numbers 14:37) Their sin was committed on the eighth of Av, and God held back his anger for forty days, corresponding to the forty days they spent exploring the Land.
  9. On the last day of the year, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to annul vows so as to enter the Day of Judgement and the new year without sin (or the liability to sin caused by as yet unfulfilled vows).






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02 Jan 2006 / 2 Tevet 5766 0