Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
ELUL – Our Great Spiritual Adventure
Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 06:22:35 PM
Number of views: 305

Judaism’s great spiritual adventure begins in the month of Elul. In many ways Elul is the most profound spiritual re-JEWvenation, a time of introspection, of self-judgement, and spiritual improvement. We spend this month preparing for Judgement Day. It is a time to contemplate the greatest themes of existence, the meaning of our lives, free will, and the celebration of living responsibly.

The very name of this month, ELUL, are the initials for the verse in Shir Hashirim, ANI LEDODI VEDODI LI (I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine), the Beloved, of course, being G-d. As the pop song of the 60’s says…”Me and You, and You and Me, forever!” This month becomes the opportunity to come close to G-d, by directing our hearts and our minds to these great themes of Judaism. We must engage in spiritual stock taking and introspection, seeing where we have strayed, and where we have sinned. This process gives us the spiritual strength to acknowledge our faults and character defects, to remake ourselves into the person we would want to be.

Thus, three things are done in Elul to help us to prepare properly for Judgement.
1) The Shofar is sounded daily, a signal and a warning to scrutinize our lives and be ready for Rosh Hashana.
2) Prayers of SLICHOT (forgiveness) are recited, assuring us that we are judged by G-d who is eager and willing to forgive us if we do a proper Tshuva.
3) Tehillim 27, is recited daily in which we turn to G-d for forgiveness and put our trust and hope only in Him.

Through these three actions, each day of Elul becomes a special time, strengthening our faith, deepening our love and devotion to G-d, and living up to G-d’s requirements. As the Prophet taught us, “What does G-d require of you? Only to act with justice, love acts of kindness and walk modestly and humbly with your G-d” (Micah 6).

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