I’m sure that anyone standing here tonight can get up and speak for 5 hours regarding the days of Elul. What can I add…what can I share?
The purpose of Elul, is to start at the very beginning, with our eye on the end. “Ani Ledodi, Vedodi Li” – (The roshei Teivos of the word Elul) is an expression of pure love. In other words, these days of Elul are designed for us to practice the art of taking Hashems hand, bringing him in to our lives and never letting go. We are being tasked with the job of developing powerful feelings of love for Hashem Yisborach. This love for Hashem, is what we strive to achieve at the very end of Tishrei and after celebrating the climax of Simchas Torah and Shemini Atzeres. That being the case, why is it that we begin Elul already with stirrings of love for Hashem, if in fact, we are meant to achieve this state at the end of the Yomim Tovim?
The answer to this is reflected in the words of Chazzal when they say, “Sof Ma’aseh B’machashava Techiloh” – “The end result must begin with an initial and complete understanding of the task ahead”.
When a person drives up to the Catskills during the summer to be with his family for Shabbos and you ask him where he is going…he won’t reply that he is driving to the George Washington Bridge and then to the Palisades and then to…. He will not describe and indicate each step in the process of making his way up to the Bungalow Colony! Instead, he will simply say that he is driving to the Country. This man has his mind focused on the end result. He understands the objective and he simply fills in the gaps in the middle. Similarly, when a building is constructed, we can ascertain the end result already at the beginning, by means of viewing and understanding the architectural plans and diagrams. The construction crew already knows what they are building and they simply fill in the appropriate steps to achieve the end result.
This is the reason that we begin Elul right away by working on developing our feelings of pure love for Hashem Yisborach! It is precisely because this is the end goal of all of our efforts during this wonderful stretch of Yomim Tovim (each with its own character, hidden meanings and beauty) – to awaken and to strengthen our love for Hashem, that we begin right away with our eye on the prize!
<Heard From Harav Shimshon Pincus Z”L>