Loving Elul

With the advent of Elul, we start looking ahead toward the High Holidays or more specifically Yom Kippur. Recently I was struck  by the preponderance of people I know who are getting married this month. It is explained that the bride and broom are judged on their wedding day as if it were Yom Kippur. On the day of their wedding it is customary for them both to fast and for the man to wear a kitel under the huppah. This is the same garment that he wears on Yom Kippur. He dresses up as an angel, white and free from sin.

It seems to me that you could also see it the other way around. That the husband wears the kitel on Yom Kippur in that it reminds him of his wedding day. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is reported to have said, ” On Tisha B’ Av– how could you eat? On Yom Kippur who needs to?”  Tisha B’Av is a day of national tragedy. Eating would separate you from the rest of your nation.  How could you eat? On Yom Kippur you are in love. It is like your wedding day. You are about to create a lasting bond with your life partner. You are so head over heals, how can you imagine eating? While few of us are blessed to be getting married in this season, we all are moving from Elul toward Yom Kippur.  I hope that we all find a way to connect to that love.

This message seems to be encoded in the very spelling of the month of Elul.  Elul is an acronym for the beginning of this quote from Song of Songs:

אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי, הָרעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים

Ani Ledodi Vdodi Li- I am my beloved’s And my beloved is mine;       He browses among the lilies.(Song of Songs  6:3)

Yom Kippur is coming, but do not think of sin and guilt. Think of standing with your life partner. Love is in the air in Elul.

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