The Hebrew month of Elul initiates a 40 day period called Teshuvah. This is the Hebrew year 5778. In a Gregorian calendar of the year 2018, this would be August 11 or 12 or 13 depending on when the new moon is confirmed by two witnesses.
Elul is the last month of the civic calendar in Judaism. Elul is the sixth month of the religious calendar. Jewish tradition points to the name of the month to be an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…
In Aramaic, the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted, the word Elul means “search”. Per Strong’s Concordance, Elul means “nothingness” in the Hebrew.
The month is mentioned one time in the Bible. Nehemiah 6:15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. Cultural customs per http://www.jewfaq.org, http://www.myjewishlearning.com .
It is Jewish custom to blow a shofar (ram’s horn) one time every day during the season of Teshuvah. The trumpet is blown every day after the morning service except Shabbat or the Sabbath (Saturday for us in western culture) and the last day of month of Elul.
This is the Hebrew word for “repent”. The call of Teshuvah is to turn toward God and repent. Repent is not a warm and fuzzy spiritual word that causes your stomach to flutter or hair to stand on your neck. Prepare and turn to God with a joyful heart. People are called to turn away from their sin, repent, and change course. It is a time of inward reflection and sincere self-assessment. The goal is a change in lifestyle away from sin to obedience in God’s word.
The point of the season is to prepare for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.
The concept of “repent” is timeless in the Bible. People were called to repent in the past in the Old Testament. Today in the 21st century, we are called to repent as members of the church, the body of Jesus Christ.
“Repent” is not a mystical, spiritual word that has some deep and hidden theological meaning. The Greek word for repent in the New Testament is μετανοεο/metanoeo. It means: to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.
One should be ashamed of their actions. There should be some conviction. Be honest. Right is right and wrong is wrong. We can all do better.
The 40 day period of Teshuvah ends on Tishri 10, Yom Kippur.
Return to God…