Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss Discusses The Significance of Chodesh Elul


moshe-meir-weiss-rabbiRabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, Rav of the Agudath Israel of Staten Island and prominent Marbitz Torah delivers a weekly shiur on the Chumash for men on Tuesday nights at Rav Landau’s Shul on the corner of Avenue L and East 9th Street in Flatbush.

This past Tuesday night, before offering insights in Parshas Shoftim, Rabbi Weiss spoke about the significance of Chodesh Elul and how we can utilize these days to better prepare for both Rosh Hashana, the Yom Hadin (Day of Judgment) and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The following report is based on his comments.

The 40 Days Before Yom Kippur

We know that Elul has many significances, such as being 40 days before Yom Kippur. Moshe Rabbeinu went atop Har Sinai a third time and came down 40 days later on Yom Kippur after Hashem had completely forgiven the Yidden for the aveira of the Cheit Ha’eigel.         

From this episode in our national history, Klal Yisroel has taken on the minhag of utilizing these 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippur to try and do teshuvah and change ourselves into better people. It is a good time, Rabbi Weiss said to use these 40 auspicious days to make a commitment to daven better or treat our spouse and children with more respect.

A Time to Prepare Ourselves For A Very Important Task

Rosh Chodesh Elul also gives us 30 days of time to prepare ourselves to truly accept Hakodesh Baruch Hu as our Melech, our King on the day of Rosh Hashana. How can we best prepare ourselves to truly accept Hashem as our King and Ruler? One way, Rabbi Weiss suggested was to make a concerted effort each morning in the month of Elul to try and recite each of the morning brochas with enhanced kavana.

By making the effort to better concentrate on the words of these blessings that we might perhaps be rattling off by rote during the rest of the year, we will more importantly gain a deeper appreciation of all of Hashem’s countless kindnesses to us. This should result in our desiring to demonstrate our sincere hakoras hatov by crowning and proclaiming Hashem as our King on Rosh Hashana.

A Debate Over the Meaning of Teshuva

Rabbi Weiss mentioned that there is a discussion among the meforshim about the meaning of teshuva, one who renounces the path of aveiras that distance one from Hakodesh Baruch Hu. One meaning of the word teshuvah is to return to Hashem. Indeed the acronym of the month of Elul which begins the 40 days of teshuvah leading up until Yom Kippur is – aleph, lamed, vov and lamed that stands for “Ani Lidodi V’dodi Li – I am (returning) to my Beloved and my Beloved (is waiting) for me.”

There are two roads in this world, Rabbi Weiss explained. The first road is a smooth road, but it however ends in a destination that is rough and thorny. The second road in Olam Hazeh, Chazal teach us is thorny but leads to an ultimate destination of pleasure and eternal bliss in Olam Habah. Most goyim have opted to travel on the “easy” road in this world and that means that they won’t have much lasting pleasure in the world to come.

A Jew Must Worry If His Life is Too Comfortable

For Jews, much of our lives in golus has successfully accomplished despite our seemingly having to travel on the thorny past. Rabbi Weiss emphasized that a Jew must worry if his life is extremely smooth and comfortable and it appears that he is really not confronting significant thorns or obstacles in his day-to-day activities. A Jew has to seriously think and contemplate that perhaps he is not doing the right things in life and is therefore literally walking on the wrong path that Chazal warn us to avoid.

Now a person is not supposed to take on dangerous nisayonim (challenges) needlessly (i.e. trying to raise a frum family in the heart of the Republic of the Congo in Central Africa). So what is meant by walking on the easy path that ends in a rough and thorny destination? Rabbi Weiss gave the example of a husband who is asked by his wife to do her a particular favor. However, he always pushes her off with excuses. Yet such behavior if symbolic of how he acts in other situations that develop in his life might lead him on the “easy” road to a terrible final destination in the Next World if he fails to properly reassess his behavior and do a proper teshuvah while he still has a chance.

May Hashem give all of Klal Yisroel the ability to properly utilize these days of Elul and change our lives for the better with proper maps that will lead us to the right roads that will help us do teshuva and return to Hashem who is waiting for us like our loving Father in Heaven.        

{Daniel Keren/Matzav.com Newscenter}


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here