1st Day of Elul

1 elul

The sunset of August 28, 2022 (refers to the 1st of Elul) marks the first day of the rest of your life. We have here a method to materialize this concept. The most auspicious time to embark on a self-development program is the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul – Virgo.

1st of Elul – Hebrew Calendar – Forty days for your new beginning

For many generations, Elul has been a time conducive to personal change and renewal. Elul, as the month preceding the great festivals of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, is a time of preparation specifically reserved for those events.

The first Elul

To place the month of Elul in a historical context, we will recall the story of the Jewish people at Mount Sinai:

They had made a grave mistake with the golden calf, and things were not looking good in their relationship with God.

The reconciliation process

On the first day of Elul, the reconciliation process began. On that day, Moshe (Moses) ascended Mount Sinai (for the third time), where he spent 40 days praying on behalf of the nation.

At the same time, the Jews themselves plumbed the depths of their hearts and renewed their conviction to accept the challenge they had received at Sinai.

Forty days later, the Jews had elevated themselves to a spiritual position where they were once again fit for a relationship with divinity.

Moshe descended from the mountain on that day with a second set of Tablets, symbolizing God’s forgiveness and the re-establishment of the Jews as the nation that should carry God’s message.

That day of reunification was Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.

Forty-day pattern

Why did the process specifically take 40 days?

What’s more, the number 40 appears in dozens of places in the Torah. The first time Moshe went up the mountain, he was also there for 40 days. Likewise, in the story of Noach and the flood, rain fell for 40 days.

The Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years. And a Jewish ritual bath (“Mikveh”) must contain a minimum of 40 units of water. And the list of “forty” is even longer…

Meaning of forty (40)

Forty represents the concept of renewal, a new beginning. Forty means that something may have the same old appearance on its surface, but its essence is new.

Consider the following:

  • The first time Moshe ascended Mount Sinai for 40 days to receive the Torah, the Jews were transformed into a nation.
  • The 40 days of Noach’s rain symbolize the world starting again from scratch.
  • The 40 years wandering in the desert were a transformation for the Jewish people, they went from being rooted in the slave mentality of Egypt, to one that understands true freedom.
  • And immersion in the Mikveh (purification baths) is the consummate Jewish symbol of spiritual renewal (similarly, it is no coincidence that God decreed 40 weeks for human development in the womb).

40 days from Elul to Yom Kippur

The 40 days from Elul to Yom Kippur were crucial to renewing the relationship between God and the Jewish people. Whenever we perceive God as distant, we can be sure that it is not God who moved away, but that the people are not worthy of that intimate relationship.

They spent 40 days changing their inner selves, and since then, the lunar month of Elul-Virgo is the ideal time for personal growth and renewal.

Who would you like to be?

The sages teach that from the moment of human conception, it takes 40 days for the soul to enter the body for the first time.

Yom Kippur, which occurs 40 days after Elul, is the day of spiritual rebirth. That is, it is the day on which a “new you” will be born. Thus, the first of Elul marks the conception of the spiritual “new you”.

Necessary development to receive your renewed soul begins on the 1st of Elul. So, who would you like to be 40 days from now? Let’s imagine for a few minutes that anything is possible.

Suppose you could eliminate all that is bad and improve all that is good about you.

Take a few minutes to visualize the ideal “you” (it is best to write it down on a piece of paper). Think about these kinds of questions:

  • What kind of friend, parent, or father would you like to be?
  • How would you act in public?
  • How would you handle your private affairs?
  • What habits would you like to break?
  • How would you like to talk?
  • What do you plan to devote your time and energy to?
  • What would you like to understand?
  • What areas would you like to have more control over?
  • What things would you prefer to keep out of your mind?
  • What condition would you like your body to be in?
  • In what areas would you like to be more careful?
  • In what areas would you like to have fewer worries?

Once you have defined the ideal, try to describe that person in as much detail as possible. This doesn’t mean you’ll become that person next year, but if you don’t know where you’re trying to go, you’ll never get there.

Make some concrete goals. That’s the first step to a permanent change for the good. As the Talmud states:

“On the path a person wants to go, on that path he is led.” (Makot 10b)

This article has been adapted and translated by InfoMistico.com / By Rabbi Joel Padowitz via aish.com