Elul, the month of Teshuvah (turning back to God)

The original article, which is linked above:

This is a month of repentance and seeking God’s face for deliverance.

We prepare spiritually for the seventh month, which has all the Fall Feasts, starting with the Feast of Trumpets –– then Yom Kippur –– then the Feast of Tabernacles.

We’ll be building our tabernacle again, as we do every year.

Donna Beccia Carick @ Shalom Yeshua Ministries

Elul is the 12th and final month in the Jewish calendar (the sixth month counting from Nisan). It is a month that connects the past year with the coming year—a time when we reflect on where we stand and where we should be going.

It is called “the month of repentance,” “the month of mercy” and “the month of forgiveness.” Elul follows the two previous months of Tammuz and Av—months of tragedies that were brought upon us through our sins. In Tammuz, the Jews sinned with the golden calf; on Rosh Chodesh Elul, Moses ascended to Mount Sinai for a third 40-day period until Yom Kippur, when he descended with the second tablets (luchot) and G‑d’s word of joyful, wholehearted forgiveness. (The first time Moses ascended was to receive the first tablets; the second time was after the sin, to ask for forgiveness; and this third time was to receive the second set of tablets.) These were days when G‑d revealed to the Jewish people great mercy. Since then, this time has been designated as a time of mercy and forgiveness, an opportune time for teshuvah—repentance.

The four letters of the name Elul are an acronym for the phrase in “Song of Songs” (6:3): “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” “I am to my beloved”—we approach G‑d with a desire to return and connect. “And my beloved is to me”—G‑d reciprocates with Divine expressions of mercy and forgiveness.

Copyright Chabad.org

“I Am My Beloved’s”

Our rabbis note that the name “Elul” is an acronym for the biblical phrase ani ledodi vedodi li—“I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.” In other words, the intense love between G‑d and the Jewish people comes to the surface during Elul. This particular verse also indicates that during Elul, it is man who takes the initiative in his relationship with G‑d. In chassidic thought3 this verse is contrasted with a similar verse,4 “My Beloved is mine, and I am His,” which reflects a different expression of this love relationship. “My Beloved is mine” suggests the initiative is taken by divine revelation, which then evokes a response from man. “I am my Beloved’s,” by contrast, suggests an expression of love initiated by man, to which G‑d responds.

From the talks of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson @ Chabad.org

Here is the rest of the 2nd cite article: https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/155856/jewish/The-King-in-the-Field.htm

Some people falsely equate this month of punishment or destruction, but that is a horrible perspective and wrong. Instead, this month is all about returning to God. Repentance. Or as I like to reference Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 10:5.

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 NASB 1995 Ed.

1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! 2 I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

2 Cor 10:1-5

If you read the whole Chabad article, the King, the Adonai Elohim, is coming out to the fields, he is reaching out to us. However, we are to meet him at His appointed place. He won’t meet murderers in the midst of their murders, thieves in the midst of their thefts, prostitutes in the midst of their prostitution. To meet the Lord in his designated place, you must set down that contrary to Him and go to where He is waiting for you.

If you understand the fasting and sackcloth rituals of Judaism, you know this isn’t public performance but an admission that without Adonai, all you have is nothing. When fasting, you are not to look haggard or worn out, but you are to give away what you normally would have been consuming yourself.

Even under sackcloth, and ash, this isn’t to prove how pious you are to others, but to remind your own heart that everything is but dust. Your nakedness is still covered, but you take the time to remember that your flesh is from dust, and dust it will return. This dust is passing. If you lose everything, then you are just returning to where you began, at nothing.

However, per the writings of Paul the Apostle, you are now sealed with Pneuma Hagion, Ruak Hakodesh, Holy Spirit. What Adonai seals with Holy Spirit, you cannot unseal by your hand. But this isn’t permission to sin, but rather to live by your nature found in Christ, which is recorded in Romans 2:12-16:

12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Rom 2:12-16 NASB 1995

Your nature is that the Torah is written in your heart. Do you not hear that message? There is a reason that Jesus said that not one jot or tittle would be removed. Paul spent a lot of time in his writings to establish heathens, barbarians, foreigners, what we call Gentiles, into God’s word, and even when he did, we hear about how flighty some of these people were in 1 Cor and Galatians. But we also know that they would get caught up in legalism and fencing the Torah. Both of these are ignoring what God did for them.

When Jesus was asked, “What is the most important law of the commandments?” He answered them with the Shema. There is a section of Deuteronomy that is called the Shema. The word itself means “Hear and Obey.”

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31 The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM; 33 AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

Mark 12:28-34 NASB 1995

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deut 6:4-9 NASB 1995

As you can see, he didn’t quote the Shema literally, but that is because the 10 commandments as written by the Hebrew records include the protestant 10 commandments. Still, the first is the statement of who God is, then you get in the second what you are to do with this knowledge.

Protestant 10 Commandments (Exodus 20: 3-17 NASB 1995)

1) I am the Lord thy god, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
2) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
5) Honor thy father and thy mother.
6) Thou shalt not murder.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10) Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to thy neighbor.

3 1) “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 2) “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 3) “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Summary: Don’t bury yourself in sin. Repent joyfully returning to the Lord. If you do not hear the Torah in your heart, don’t forget that the Teachings of Jesus and the Torah didn’t vanish but are refined according to the audience and the ages. Nothing was removed, but the people are being remembered.

If you are confused about how the Torah applies today, look at what Paul writes and how Luke documented the book of Acts, which includes practical application of this wisdom for the Jews and Gentiles.

Go to him. He is waiting.

בשמו של ישוע, נסיך המשיח של השלום
beshm Yeshua, nsick hamashie sal hashalom
In the name of Yeshua, the messiah prince of peace

Bonus Note: Adonai, or as some spell it as Adonay, is derived from “Adone,” meaning “Lord,” and “Ai,” meaning “My.” This means Adonai is My Lord. This term can be used for God and men of wealth or authority. This is why you will often see “Adonai Elohim,” which is “My Lord who is the Highest of the High.” You may also find “HaShem,” which is derived from “Ha” meaning “The,” and “Shem,” meaning “Name.” This is all done because the Mosaic Laws (Laws written in Moses’ time) include the restriction of not taking God’s name in vain. However, it seems that replacing the o in God with an asterisk or hyphen is putting a fence around that rule. Put too many fences between man and God, and man will never find God.

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