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What does the word Elul stand for?


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Rabbi Jacobson: Welcome to askmoses. How can I be of help today?

avi: what are the roshei teivot of Elul? [Ed. The Hebrew letters for Elul are an acronym for various words]

Rabbi Jacobson: There are five acronyms1

avi: what are they?

Rabbi Jacobson: 1) "Eina L'yadi V'samti Lach"2

Rabbi Jacobson: 2) "Et L'vavcha V'et L'vav"3

Rabbi Jacobson: 3) "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li"4

Rabbi Jacobson: 4) "Ish L'rei-eihu U'matonat L'ev-yonim"5

Rabbi Jacobson: And the Arizal6 adds a fifth one which has the letters of Elul but spelled backward "L'Hashem Va-yomru Leimor Ashirah"7

avi: wow thanks that is great 

avi: how does Moshiach and Torah (2 of the themes of Ellul) connect with Ellul

Rabbi Jacobson: the Rambam explains that Moshiach will be a "hogeh b'Torah"

avi: "Hogeh b'Torah"?

Rabbi Jacobson: Moshiach will be a person who diligently studies Torah

avi: ok but how does that connect neccesarily directly with ellul

Rabbi Jacobson: the above mentioned Roshei tevot of elul are connected with the following themes:

Rabbi Jacobson: Torah

Rabbi Jacobson: Teshuvah

Rabbi Jacobson: Avodah (prayer)

Rabbi Jacobson: Gemillut Chassodim (charity/kindness)

Rabbi Jacobson: & Geulah (Moshiach)

avi: how? sorry if i am being ignorant

Rabbi Jacobson: Eina L'yadi V'samti Lach (which is about the Cities of Refuge/miklat) = Torah. The Talmud says in Makot8 , "divrei torah koltin" [the study of Torah provides refuge]

Rabbi Jacobson: Et L'vavcha V'et L'vav (about returning [to the ways of] G-d) = Teshuvah

Rabbi Jacobson: Ani l'dodi v'dodi li (about love) = Avodah (tefila)

avi: ok

Rabbi Jacobson: Ish L'rei-eihu U'matonat L'ev-yonim (about charity and gifts on Purim) = Gemillut Chassodim

Rabbi Jacobson: L'hashem Va-yomru Leimor Ashira (from Az Yashir, song of praise after splitting of Sea) = Geulah

avi: got it thanks

Rabbi Jacobson: k?

avi: yes thank you

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


  • 1. Kitzur Shluchan Aruch 128:1 mentions the first four. The fifth is mentioned by the Lubavitcher Rebbe (see for example Likutei Sichot vol. 9 p. 299 footnote 23).
  • 2. Exodus 21:13 "God brought [it] about into his hand"
  • 3. Deuteronomy 30:6 "your heart and the heart of [your offspring]"
  • 4. Song of Songs 6:3 " I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine"
  • 5. Esther 9:22 "[sending portions] one to another, and gifts to the poor".
  • 6. Arizal Shulchan Aruch on Rosh Chodesh Elul, and Pri Eitz Chaim portal 205 chapter 1.
  • 7. Exodus 15:1 "to the Lord, and they spoke, saying, I will sing".
  • 8. Talmud tractate Makot 10a


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Holidays » Other Days of Note

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Repentance. Or, more literally, "return" to G-d. Teshuvah involves regretting the past and making a firm resolution not to repeat the offense.
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
A one-day holiday celebrated in late winter commemorating the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation issued by Persian King Ahasuerus in the year 356 BCE.
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
The 6th month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to August-September. This is the month which precedes Tishrei, the month of the High Holidays, and is a month of introspection and repentance.
Acronym for Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, widely known as Maimonides. Born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
Rabbi Isaac Luria, the 15th Century founder of Modern Kabbalah.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.