Elul 2: What are we going to get out of the High Holy Days?
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.” Ps 51:1, 3 NASB
In the US, we have many different calendars which run concurrently: the annual Gregorian calendar (Jan-Dec); school calendar (Aug-May); fiscal; etc. Israel also has various calendars. The new year for trees is in Jan/Feb (usually). The spiritual calendar runs from the beginning of Nisan, the month of Passover (generally March or April). The civil calendar begins with Tishrei (with Rosh Hashanah. (This is the calendar used for advancing the year, eg from 5774 to 5775, sabbatical cycles, and the jubilee.)
Elul is the last month of the civil calendar. There are 40 days from the first of Elul to the holiest, most sacred day of the year, Yom Kippur. The theme leading up to and including the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) is teshuvah (repentance or turning back (shuv) to God).
Rabbi David Begoun in his article “In Search of Aaron Sofer” explained how we should act during this period of teshuvah: “We cannot just show up on Rosh Hashanah and expect to have a transformative and inspiring High Holiday experience. … I try to carve out 20 minutes a day during this month for some serious introspection and spiritual accounting. …Maximizing the days of Elul transforms my Rosh Hashanah experience. When I don’t, I walk away from the High Holidays feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.”
I know the desire of each of our hearts is to maximize our High Holy Day experience with our King of Kings. Bayla Sheva Brenner summed up our earthly lives: “Ultimately, after 120 years … we all leave this world with only ourselves and the relationship we’ve forged with God. “ Amen!
ACTION: Ps 51 is often called the Perek Teshuvah (Chapter of Repentance). This Psalm is often read during this season. How are we going to walk through these 40 days? As just another month? Or as a time of spiritual preparation?
“Most holy, awesome God. Your love is precious. Please speak to each of our hearts that we might ready ourselves for Your High Holy Days. Help us to let go of those things which so easily beset us. Help the spiritual cloud to fall from the eyes of the scorners, mockers, and unbelievers. Help us to walk as Your light before all man – help our actions to be consistent with our beliefs. Help believers both here and in Israel n& the Middle East to reflect You in all our actions. We speak peace to those who are struggling spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially. Protect the Arab Christians, the Israelis, those who seek Your peace. Turn our country to You and bring Your true peace to J’lem. In the mighty Name of our soon-coming Messiah, Yeshua, we ask these things.”
IMMEDIATE Prayer Requests:
1. Pray for Israel! Decisiveness. Clarity of mind and determination of spirit. Protect the innocent – both Jew and Arab.
2. Ministers (Dawn’s daughter and son in law): peace & wisdom.
3. Eric (Connie & Vince’s son): peace
4. Marita (Israel): time of refreshment and physical healing during her vacation.
5. Chantell & Maggie (Les’a & Don’s daughter in law and sister in law): healing
6. Maxine, Joe, Connie, Les’a, & Harriett (Jim’s mom): healing.
7. John Evans: insurance and finances
8. Step mom & fiancée of her brother (Tracy): emotional and physical healing
9. PJ: total body healing.
10. Jobs: Pamela, Norman G., PJ, Natan and his new military assignment.
11. PROTECTION FOR ISRAEL – God will bring His peace to J’lem and all of Israel.
12. REVIVAL IN AMERICA!
13. REVIVAL in Arizona