Reflections During Elul: How Did You Learn to Love?

The moon is full now, which means we are in the middle of Elul.  It is a perfect time to take a quiet evening stroll.

There is a Hasidic teaching that says that the name of the month of Elul is an indication that God is closer to us at this time.  Each letter of the month’s name (aleph – lamed – vav – lamed) corresponds to the first letter of the words in the verse, “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” Ani l’dodi v’dodi li.  (Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs 6:3)  This verse is commonly recited by a bride under the chuppah.

The rabbis believed that our relationship with God is similar to a relationship with a lover.  In each, we must approach the other with an open heart.  We must have a heart prepared to be vulnerable, inspired by the other, and to be a real partner with them.  This is true between people and it is true in our relationship with God.

Here is the next Elul question and texts.  I like Amichai’s image that after someone dies, all the love they have absorbed over a lifetime pours out of them for others to receive.


  1. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

    Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.

  2. Yehuda Amichai’s “The Body is the Cause of Love”

The body is the cause of love;
after that, the fortress that protects it;
after that, love’s prison.
But when the body dies,
love is set free in wild abundance,
like a slot machine that breaks down
and with furious ringing pours out all at once
all the coins of
all the generations of luck.