Elul: the Month of Love
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I am for My Beloved and My Beloved is for Me
by Rachel Heiser
I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me (Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li). Some Jews are familiar with this phrase from Song of Songs. It is recited at weddings and inscribed on jewelry.
But, did you know that this phrase also goes hand in hand with the High Holidays? I didn’t.
Rosh Hashanah began as the Hebrew month of Elul ended. In Hebrew, Elul is spelled Aleph-Lamed-Vav-Lamed. This is also the acronym for Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li. Thus, we can say Elul is the month of love.
Some rabbis may talk about this love in relation to God. That is important, but I’m focused on a different aspect of the word Elul.
The Lamed, or the Hebrew equivalent of “L”, is the tallest Hebrew letter. The Lameds in Elul are like two people raising above the complications of everyday life and connecting on a higher, yet equal, plain. If you turn one Lamed around to face the other, they form a heart. Just think of how many times we could improve our personal relationships if we just stop and turn to face one another. These are the moments when we have our most intimate conversations, truly get to know someone, and resolve issues.
If you are in a relationship, take some time this High Holiday season to face your loved one and reconnect. If you are not in a relationship, don’t bury your head in the sand. Stand tall like a Lamed and present yourself proudly at High Holiday services, or wherever you may be.
Who knows? You could meet your matching Lamed by the time you break the Fast on Yom Kippur.
For a list of a few High Holiday options in Cleveland, click here.
Rachel Heiser is President and CEO of Cleveland Yentas, a non-profit, for-purpose organization. Cleveland Yentas provides free matchmaking for all Jewish singles over 21. Over 300 people have registered. Learn more or register at www.CLEyentas.com.