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Elul, Eeeluul, Eeeeluuuuuuul!!

We are about to enter to the month of Elul next week, you can already start listening to the rabbis all around the globe claiming: “Elul! Eeeluuul! Eluuul!” Trying to wake up the souls of the people. Elul is a very auspicious time for repentance, Tshuva, it is the last chance that Hashem gives us to repent before the day of the judgement. 

In more esoteric terms, starting from Rosh Chodesh Elul there is a flow of more spiritual abundance and more mercy. So if the person wants to connect to that energy, he just has to ask! The beauty of Elul is that the whole system is already waiting for us just to ask to connect, once we do, we start elevating ourselves. 

Since Elul is a month with a very positive energy, the 13 attributes  of mercy of Hashem are latent during this time. To connect to them we just have to emulate them, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (The Ramak) in his masterpiece Tomer Deborah, explains what are the 13 attributes  of mercy of Hashem and also how we can apply them into our lives. It is actually very simple, if you act in a merciful way towards others, Hashem will act the same way towards you. 

To always keep them in mind the 13 attributes of mercy are: 

  1. א-ל / G‑d — Mighty in compassion
  2. רַחוּם / Rachum — Merciful
  3. וְחַנּוּן / Ve’chanun — Gracious
  4. אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם / Erech apayim — Slow to anger
  5. אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם / Erech apayim — Slow to anger 
  6. וְרַב-חֶסֶד / Ve’rav chesed — Plenteous in kindness
  7. וֶאֱמֶת / Ve’emet — Truth
  8. נֹצֵר חֶסֶד / Notzer chesed — Keeping in kindness 
  9. לָאֲלָפִים / Laalafim — Unto thousands
  10. נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן / Noseh avon — Forgiving iniquity
  11. וָפֶשַׁע / Vafeshah — Forgiving transgression
  12. וְחַטָּאָה / Vechata’ah — Forgiving sin
  13. וְנַקֵּה / VeNakeh — Pardoning

If you pay attention you will see that the 4th and 5th ones are repeated. According to this opinion, which is basically the one of the kabbalists, the first “slow to anger” is towards the righteous and the second one is towards the wicked. The Second opinion (also hold by the Rambam): 

  1. י-ה-ו-ה / Hashem — Compassion 
  2. י-ה-ו-ה / Hashem — Compassion 
  3. א-ל / G‑d — Mighty in compassion
  4. רַחוּם / Rachum — Merciful
  5. וְחַנּוּן / Ve’chanun — Gracious 
  6. אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם / Erech apayim — Slow to anger
  7. וְרַב-חֶסֶד / Ve’rav chesed — Full with kindness 
  8. וֶאֱמֶת / Ve’emet — Truth
  9. נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים / Notzer chesed laalafim — Kindness unto thousands
  10. נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן / Noseh avon — Forgiving Iniquity 
  11. וָפֶשַׁע / Vafeshah — Forgiving Transgression 
  12. וְחַטָּאָה / VeChata’ah — Forgiving Sin
  13. וְנַקֵּה / VeNakeh — Pardoning

If you pay attention again the first two attributes, they also are repeated. In this case, the first one is compassion before the person sins and the second is compassion after the person sins. In any case if we exert ourselves to emule Hashem with these attributes the reaction will be the same towards us. 

There are many meditations that can be done during Elul, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the following is one of the most used meditations for when the person tries to clear the mind or when having bad thoughts. The meditation is brought in The gates of meditation and the simple explanation is as follows: 

The meditation is from Notzer Chesed until veNakeh. Notzer Chesed is the 8th tikun out of the 13, we see in the sidur that Notzer Chesed goes into lealafim, which means alef. We know that there are many names of Hashem starting with the letter alef. All these names have a certain attribute in common; the letter alef also symbolizes Keter, so since the alef is very elevated, the dark side is trying to nurture from her. So when we give Notzer Chesed to the alafim (the alef) we are taking away all that negative energy that is affecting. So we are cleaning the sparks that were affected within that negative energy. 

The way we clean that negative energy is by going through the next attributes: nose avon, vafeshah and vechatah. As we can see all these attributes are about forgiving different type of transgressions, this is metaphorically equivalent to the influence that the negative energy had on those sparks that we are now cleaning; finally, we arrive to veNakeh, that comes from the language of cleaning, we reached the last step where all these sparks are going to be recovered. 

Rabbi Shepherd sends all of us his blessing so that we can take advantage of Elul and elevate ourselves and get closer to Hashem. 

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