Rav Doniel Coren, a Talmid Chacham in Monsey, brought Rav Itamar Shwartz to Monsey on Thursday night September 11th, 2008 to speak at Rabbi Rudinksy's Shul. That shiur is available via video HERE and on mp3, along with all of the other shiurim from the U.S. trip HERE. He has been kind enough to briefly summerize the shiur below:
The pasuk says “תקעו בחודש שופר בכסא ליום חגינו כי חק לישראל הוא משפט לאלוקי יעקב” blow the shofar at the time of covering for our day of holiday.” Chazal ask which holiday has a covered up month. And they answer: the holiday of Rosh Hashana (since the moon is barely visible unlike other holidays which take place in the middle of the month)
The idea of covering up tells us a very important step as we approach the coming new year תשס"ט – if something is being covered up it means its still here. When a person enters the new year he needs to know that much of the success depends on the preparation he made in the end of the previous year. this is the main purpose of the month of Elul.
When one builds a building and finishes the first floor he then proceeds to build another floor the roof of the lower level is covered up but its there it’s the base of the next level.
Chazal say "תכלה שנה וקלולתיך תחל שנה וברכותיה." We want the curses of the previous year to end and the blessing to begin – this happens only if you end the year properly so the next year can begin on the right foot.
So what is Elul about?
We know the acronym אני לדודי ודודי לי im to my beloved and my beloved is to me – what does this mean?
How does this differ from what chazal say דרשו ה' בהמצאו קראהו בהיותו קרוב. This refers to the ten days of repentance. What doesElul have to offer that the ten days don’t?
The answer is the avoda ofElul is to understand that we are building our new year on the previous one.
What do we need to build in these days?
Ani ledodi vedodi li means as much as I feel and am aware of Hashem that is how much he will reveal himself to me –
Let's explain the process.
Ani ledodi – what is an uncle its a person who loves us generally but does not appear all the time – sometimes he shows up by a shiva and tragedies and sometimes he shows up for a wedding and a simcha
First step is to feel that Hashem is with you sometimes. This takes work.
You get up in the morning and thank God and become aware of all the gifts he gives us every moment.
Mode ani it's good to be alive – 12 second rule.
Don’t wait for tzaros to feel Hashem – its true god is with us in calamties – when a person is sick he feels god however many times a person is so troubled with the tragedy he misses out on the opportunity even then – really it’s a wake up call as we all see when people have a tragedy like getting sick etc they many times wake up buy god doesn’t want you to wait for that
Feel G-d with all the good you want have to feel him through the bad.
This is step one.
The idea of Elul being days of Ratzon is the idea that this month opens up the inner desire to want to feel G-d.
Then if a person works on this he receives a present vedodi li – G-d now reveals Himself to him much more often – you can be walking in the street and feel G-d.
As I write this I think to myself – until a person experiences this feeling, this might sound like fluffy words that just float in the air – But the truth is many people have had the moment which people call “it” where for a second they are mezmerized by a beautiful view or the setting of the sun or watching a very strong wind.
What is that feeling? It’s the trancendal. You feel like you're transcending the physical world. Our purpose is to feel all the time.
If you want to know if your Elul preparation is going well, check to see if you feel G-d not only when there is a tzara or a direct cause but just walking with him and feeling his presence
The ten days are ten days when you can feel God all the time – It's Gan Eden.
If your hachana of Elul goes right, you come to Rosh Hashana and you can say Avinu our father – our Father is always watching us
To be successful you need to decide what is our purpose in life why am I asking for life.
What type of life do we want?
When we say זכרנו לחיים מלך חפץ בחיים what are we saying – we saying give us life that you desire
What type of life does G-d want us to have?
ואתם הדבקים בה' אלוקיכם חיים כולכם היום
Only if your clinging to G-d are you really alive.
We ask for life that is eternally lasting not to be walking around sleep walking in a daze and actually be dead.
A person who is alive lives with what Dovid Hamelech said ואני קרבת אלוקים לי טוב the only good thing that is good for me is closeness to God
We ask for life that our neshama wants not our body
We should be zocheh to know what life is about and wants to have it very clear then learn how to get there.
(Picture courtesy of Me and Tuvia)
Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox.