Elul: We can have hope in the future!
Confidence and trepidation are an integral part of the rollercoaster of our lives. This is so well presented in Psalm 27, LeDavid Hashem Ori, which we recite at this time of the year.
This psalm is comprised of two elements: In the first instance, it’s full of confidence. Hashem is my light; he is my salvation. Even if war breaks out, ‘bezot ani boteach’ – I will be absolutely certain; we will prevail, we will triumph. There is enormous confidence expressed.
But then we come to the second part. Here we have fear and trepidation; fearing the absence of Hashem in our lives; fearing even our closest family turning their backs upon us.
These two parts of LeDavid Hashem Ori are actually followed by a third, a most significant conclusion, and it’s all about hope. (Psalm 27:14)
“Kavei el Hashem,” – “Let us have hope in Hashem.”
“Chazak v’ameitz libecha, let us be strong and courageous,”
“vekavei el Hashem.” – “and let us have hope in Hashem.”
After the tablets were smashed, Moshe ascended Mount Sinai for a second time and remained there for a second period of 40 days. Those 40 days are mirrored by the 40 days from the beginning of the month of Elul until Yom Kippur. Why did Moshe need a second period of 40 days? He had already received the Torah from Hashem!
He needed these days because he needed to repair his relationship on behalf of the people in the presence of the Almighty. He needed to go through the Torah again. He needed to emerge with the second set of tablets now in a position of strength, full of hope for the future.
That’s how we hope to emerge from this High Holy Day period, through Elul, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Sure enough, in Elul our cheshbon hanefesh, our introspection during this time will be full of confidence and, yes, trepidation as well. But thanks to the presence of Hashem and his blessings in our lives we will be able to fulfil ‘kavei el Hashem’, to have hope in the future because the Almighty will always be with us.