This weekend marks the transition from the month of Menachem Av to Elul. As I wrote in an earlier note, Av marks many calamities in Jewish history, particularly the destruction of both the First and Second Temples. Also, as I previously noted, the Talmud tells us the Second Temple was destroyed due to idle hatred among Jews. We are also told that the Third Temple will be built when “idle” love between Jews replaces idle hatred.
Now, we enter the month of Elul, the prelude to the High Holy Days. This is a time of intense introspection, a time when we must define the path we will take to make ourselves better G-D-fearing Jews. So, that when we talk to G-d on New Year and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), we can sincerely beseech Him for forgiveness for the mistakes we have made in the past, and equally sincerely, promise to do better in the future. We can do this out of fear/awe of G-d, but as I wrote last week, we strive to do so from our love of G-D.
In effect then, the link between Menachem Av and Elul is quite clear—love. Last month, we should have worked on loving all our fellow men (remember the message from Rabbi. A.H. Cook of blessed memory); this month, we must work on loving G-D.
May the Lord answer all our prayers.