Today, August 31, 2019, we are entering the month of Elul, the sixth month on the Hebrew spiritual calendar. This begins the traditional period of “Teshuvah”, a 40-day period of repenting and returning to God. It concludes with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar.
Elul 1 is the day that rain began to pour upon Noah’s Ark for 40 days, to cleanse the earth from man’s corruption.
Elul 1 is the day that Moses went up to Mount Sinai for 40 days, to meet God and atone for the sin of the Golden Calf. (Notice the 40 days.)
Elul 1 is the day that Jonah went to the city of Ninevah, warning them that they had 40 days to repent, and turn to God, or else their city would be destroyed. (Again, 40 days.) Just before Jonah’s warning, Ninevah experienced a total solar eclipse that passed over them as a warning (in 753 BCE).
Elul 1 is when the prophet Haggai commanded that the rebuilding of the second temple be continued, after the project had been halted.
Elul 1 is the day that John the Baptist called people to repentance, and Yeshua was baptized by him. Following that, Yeshua spent the 40 days of “Teshuvah” in the wilderness, tempted by HaSatan. (There’s that 40 days again.)
Elul 1 is the day, in 2016, that a total solar eclipse passed over the United States. Immediately following that, a hurricane headed over Corpus Christi, Texas, and devastated Houston. (Corpus Christi means “body of Christ.” Hmmm…. judgment begins in the house of the Lord!)
Elul 1, today, Florida is being threatened by a deadly hurricane. Are we being warned to repent and turn to God?
The Jewish tradition during this season of “Teshuvah” is to recite Psalm 27 daily, and to blow the shofar each morning (except on Shabbats). It is a time of personal reflection, to right the wrongs in our lives, and heal broken relationships. It is the time to prepare for the coming High Holy Days — Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
Elul 1 is the day of the New Moon. Ezekiel 46:1 tells us that God open the gates to his inner court to us on New Moon days and on Sabbaths. Today is BOTH! Enter in! Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Donna Beccia Carick