Elul

Elul

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Elul is the twelfth month
Month
A month is a unit of time, used with calendars, which was first used and invented in Mesopotamia, as a natural period related to the motion of the Moon; month and Moon are cognates. The traditional concept arose with the cycle of moon phases; such months are synodic months and last approximately...

 of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

. It is a summer
Summer
Summer is the warmest of the four temperate seasons, between spring and autumn. At the summer solstice, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day-length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice...

 month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August
August
August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with a length of 31 days.This month was originally named Sextilis in Latin, because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, when March was the first...

September
September
September is the 9th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with a length of 30 days.September in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of March in the Northern Hemisphere....

 on the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

.

The name of the month, like the names of the rest of the Hebrew calendar months, was brought from the Babylonian Exile, and has originated from the Akkadian word for "Harvest". A similar month name was also used in Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, in the form . Levantine Arabic and Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 both use a variant (Aylul or Eylül) as the name for September, reflecting the common ancestry of the Hebrew and Arabic languages.

In the Jewish tradition, the month of Elul is a time of repentance
Repentance
Repentance is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law...

 in preparation for the High Holy Days
High Holy Days
The High Holidays or High Holy Days, in Judaism, more properly known as the Yamim Noraim , may mean:#strictly, the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur ;...

 of Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

 and Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

. The word “Elul” is similar to the root of the verb “search” in Aramaic. The Talmud writes that the Hebrew word "Elul" can be expanded as an acronym for "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li" - "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" (Song of Solomon 6:3). Elul is seen as a time to search one's heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement, Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

, and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

.

During the month of Elul, there are a number of special rituals leading up to the High Holy Days. It is customary
Minhag
Minhag is an accepted tradition or group of traditions in Judaism. A related concept, Nusach , refers to the traditional order and form of the prayers...

 to blow the shofar
Shofar
A shofar is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.Shofar come in a variety of sizes.- Bible and rabbinic literature :...

 every morning (except on Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

) from Rosh Hodesh Elul (the first day of the month) until the day before Rosh Hashanah. The blasts are meant to awaken one's spirits and inspire him to begin the soul searching which will prepare him for the High Holy Days. As part of this preparation, Elul is the time to begin the sometimes-difficult process of granting and asking for forgiveness
Forgiveness
Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all...

. It is also customary to recite Psalm
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 27 every day from Rosh Hodesh Elul through Hoshanah Rabbah
Hoshanah Rabbah
The seventh day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, 21st day of Tishrei, is known as Hoshana Rabbah . This day is marked by a special synagogue service, the Hoshana Rabbah, in which seven circuits are made by the worshippers with their lulav and etrog, while the congregation recites Hoshanot...

 on Sukkot
Sukkot
Sukkot is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei . It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Hebrews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.The holiday lasts seven days...

 (in Tishrei).

Aside from the blowing of the shofar, the other major ritual practice during Elul is to recite selichot
Selichot
Selichot or slichot are Jewish penitential poems and prayers, especially those said in the period leading up to the High Holidays, and on Fast Days...

 (special penitential prayers
Prayers
is an anime set in the year 2014 where the young of Japan have rebelled against the government for segregating Shibuya and declared themselves to be independent of Japan...

) either every morning before sunrise
Sunrise
Sunrise is the instant at which the upper edge of the Sun appears above the horizon in the east. Sunrise should not be confused with dawn, which is the point at which the sky begins to lighten, some time before the sun itself appears, ending twilight...

 during the week before the last Wednesday before Rosh Hashanah (Ashkenazi tradition) or every morning during the entire month of Elul (Sephardi tradition). Ashkenazi Jews begin the recitation of selichot with a special service between solar mid-night (not 12:00) and morning light on the first day of Selichot.

Many Jews also visit the graves
Graves
Graves is an important subregion of the Bordeaux wine region. Graves is situated on the left bank of the Garonne river, in the upstream part of the region, southeast of the city Bordeaux and stretch over...

 of loved ones throughout the month in order to remember and honor those people in our past who inspire us to live more fully in the future.

Another social custom is to begin or end all letters written during the month of Elul with wishes that the recipient have a good year. The standard blessing is "K'tiva VaHatima Tova" ("a good writing and sealing [of judgement]"), meaning that the person should be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year. Tradition teaches that on Rosh Hashanah, each person is written down for a good or a poor year, based on their actions in the previous one, and their sincere efforts at atoning for mistakes or harm. On Yom Kippur, that fate is "sealed."

Elul in Jewish history


1 Elul - Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 ascends Sinai for 3rd 40 days (1313 BCE)

2 Elul - Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
The Shulchan Aruch also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Israel, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later...

 published (1555)

3 Elul - Death of Rabbi A. I. Kook (1935)

8 Elul - Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 Responds to Newport
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

 Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 (1790)

10 Elul - Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

 Dispatches Raven (2105 BCE)

12 Elul - Nachmanides Born (1294)

13 Elul - Death of Ben Ish Chai
Ben Ish Chai
Yosef Chaim or in Iraqi Hebrew Yoseph Ḥayyim was a leading hakham , authority on Jewish law and Master Kabbalist...

 (1909)

17 Elul - Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

 Dispatches Dove (2105 BCE)

18 Elul - Death of Maharal (1609)

18 Elul - Baal Shem Tov Born (1698)

18 Elul - Baal HaTanya Born (1745)

23 Elul - Dove brings Olive Leaf to Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

 (2105 BCE)

23 Elul - Death of Aleksander Rebbe
Rebbe
Rebbe , which means master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word Rabbi. It often refers to the leader of a Hasidic Jewish movement...

 Yitzchak Menachem Danziger, in Treblinka (1942)

23 Elul - The September 11 attacks (2001)

24 Elul - Death of Chafetz Chaim
Yisrael Meir Kagan
Yisrael Meir Poupko , known popularly as The Chofetz Chaim, was an influential Eastern European rabbi, Halakhist, posek, and ethicist whose works continue to be widely influential in Jewish life...

 (1933)

25 Elul - The 1st day of Creation (3761 BCE)

25 Elul - Jerusalem Walls Rebuilt (335 BCE)

25 Elul - Death of Rabbi Elazar son of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (2nd century CE)

27 Elul - Death of Belzer Rebbe
Shalom Rokeach
Sholom Rokeach , also known as the Sar Sholom , was the first Belzer Rebbe.To Belzer Hasidim, he is known as "Der Ershter Rov" , but in the city of Belz itself he was called "Der Alter Rov" in deference to the Bach, who presided as rabbi of Belz in the sixteenth century.-Biography:His father was...

 (1855)

29 Elul - Tzemach Tzedek Born (1789)


Other uses

  • Eylül is also the name for September in Turkish
    Turkish language
    Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

    ; this is derived from the Arabic
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

     form Aylūl, used in the Levant
    Levant
    The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

     (see Arabic names of calendar months
    Arabic names of calendar months
    The Arabic names of calendar months of the Gregorian calendar are usually phonetic Arabic pronunciations of the corresponding month names used in European languages...

    ). It was also used in Akkadian
    Akkadian language
    Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

    , in the form .
  • In the story of Xenogears
    Xenogears
    is a science-fiction console role-playing game developed and published by Square for Sony's PlayStation. It was released on February 11, 1998 in Japan and on October 20, 1998 in North America. The game was never released in PAL territories...

    , Elul is the name of a country, named after the Hebrew month. In the official English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     translation
    Translation
    Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

    , however, it was transliterated Elru.

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