Day One: What is Elul?
It’s that time of the year again – Elul has arrived!!!
Um, kewl, Anna. But… what is Elul?
Okay… first, the Hebrew Calendar is really different from ours. Each month is from new moon to new moon… so you don’t have to worry about trying to figure out which ones have 31 days (I say the poem, some people count knuckles… it’s all wrong, and you STILL have to have a damn leap year every four years.) Originally, the Lord set it up that each month would have 30 days in it. Of course that’s REALLY wrong now, because during the flood, the earth was knocked out of rotation, and everything got screwed up, so that the moon has a 28 day cycle. But that’s what Israel uses, since they follow Yehovah Elohim. But Israel fixes it by just adding a month every so many years. Anyhow, the Hebrew Calendar starts on Rosh Ha’Shanah… which is usually September/October (our speak). Elul is the LAST month of the old year.
It’s a big thing within Judaism (and Messianic Judaism, in my case). Elul is a special month-long event… it’s a time in which you get your house in order to start the new year fresh. And it’s not just about cleaning (although I will be posting some MAJOR cleaning posts). It’s about making sure you’ve returned everything you’ve borrowed. It’s about paying off whatever things you can to set your finances in order to the best of your ability. It’s about forgiveness – getting right with the people you’ve had grievances with. It’s about repentance – really taking a hard look at yourself and recognizing bad behaviors and setting them before the Lord and turning towards better behaviors. It’s a FANTASTIC month… a very, very busy time of preparing.
For us as Messianics, it’s more than just preparing for the New Year. It’s about preparing for the rapture. For those of you unfamiliar with the rapture, the Lord has promised to take His faithful out of this world before He releases the final wrath. We don’t know when He will do this (what year, day, or hour), but He did set the feasts up as a ‘shadow of things to come’… and the rapture is one of those things. So Elul isn’t just about getting your estate, heart, and relationships in order for the next year… it’s potentially to get everything set in case this is the year and you suddenly disappear. Your preparations are important for those left behind, and to you in regards to your heart condition as you approach the Throne of the Lamb.
Could it be this year, though? Frankly, I don’t know. There have been a lot of signs, but unlike other years, I haven’t posted about them. Just watch, quietly. I feel like the time to be silent has come. And maybe that has some deeper meaning, too.
But in any event, if you observe the practices of Judaism, you will use these days of Elul to set everything right – with your money, your home, your kids, your spouse, your friends, and your Savior.
During Elul, people recite Psalm 27 morning and evening every day. If they have a shofar (trumpet), they sound it every day, as a ‘wake up call’ to people – a last call sort of thing. We go one this year – all the way from Jerusalem, actually! – and Brian blows it as we close each day (start the next, sorta). We make a paper chain countdown and each kid gets to cut off a chain every day until Rosh Ha’Shannah. It’s very intense… if you want to set goals, finish projects… this is the time!
I take Elul very seriously. We all need a season of refreshing, re-examining, and re-committing. I hope you consider the possibilities, and set about a Elul celebration of your own.