The service of the month of Elul is to complete the service of the previous year and prepare for the service of the coming year. Since an entire year contains a wide range of different times and situations, it follows that the service of Elul must be of a complete nature, including all these different services. Accordingly, the name of Elul serves as an acronym for the three services of Torah, prayer, and deeds of kindness. It also serves as an acronym for the service of teshuvah which is a general service which transforms one's deeds into "good deeds." Similarly, it serves as an acronym for the service of redemption which concludes the service of the previous years and prepares for the service of the years to come.
In this context, the present day contains unique significance for it is the seventh of Elul. Thus, an entire week, representing a complete cycle of time, has passed during which we were involved in the above services.
These concepts can be connected with the portion of the Mishneh Torah associated with the present day which begins a new book, Sefer HaKinyan ("The Book of Acquisition"). The opening halachah of that text deals with the laws of sales. The concept of sales has metaphoric significance within the context of our service of transforming this world into a dwelling place for G-d. This service can be compared to a sale for it involves taking an object from one domain (the domain of worldliness) into another (the domain of holiness). The performance of most of the mitzvos involves such a process since they involve taking an entity of the material world which is not consecrated (for most of the mitzvos cannot be performed with consecrated property) and using them for holiness.
In the realm of land property, we find two types of sales: the sale of a house (which alludes to G-d's domain) and the sale of a field (a place where the 39 different labors are carried out). The Rambam explains that land property is acquired in three different ways: through the payment of money, the transfer of a deed of sale, or manifesting one's ownership (chazakah).
These can be understood as parallel to the three services of Torah, prayer, and deeds of kindness, which reflect the three attributes of Chesed (Kindness), Gevurah (Might which is also related to the service of fear), and Tiferes (Beauty). The payment of money (ôæï in Hebrew) is connected with yearning and love (See Bereishis 31:30, ÜöæïÉ ôæïÉ) and thus, with deeds of kindness. A deed of sale relates to the Torah which is associated with the quality of might. The manifestation of ownership (which is a more powerful act of acquisition) reflects the power of a threefold cord, the quality of Tiferes.
The Rambam writes that the manifestation of one's ownership is only effective;
If one uses the property for a beneficial purpose, e.g., one sold a house or courtyard with the entrance open, the purchaser locked the entrance and afterwards, opened it. This is considered as manifestation of one's ownership and the transaction is completed.
One of the explanations why the purchaser is required to open the entrance is that if he merely closed it, one might assume that he was doing so to guard the property contained within. By opening it, he shows that he is using it for his own purposes. Similarly, in a spiritual sense, within the context of our service of creating a dwelling place for G-d in this material world, not only are we required to protect G-d's property, we must also make use of the material substance of the world for a spiritual purpose as mentioned above.
This leads to a deeper and more elevated rung of acquisition, the acquisition of a wife which is accomplished by means of "payment of money, transfer of a legal document, or through marital relations." This refers to the inner bond between G-d and the Jews. G-d "consecrates His people Israel through Chupah and Kiddushin," they become "one flesh."
The blessings for this service are found in this week's Torah portion, Parshas Ki Seitze. This deals with a Jew's "going out to war," i.e., going out to involvement within our material world. However, he goes out in manner of èüëàÇ îÆ -- "above your enemies" -- i.e., he stands above material desire. This allows him to use this descent as a means to reach even higher levels than before.
The above surely applies since the gathering will be concluded by distributing money to be given to tzedakah. We should hurry to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah and all the mitzvos for soon Mashiach will come and usher in the Messianic era. This is referred to by our Sages as "days for which I (G-d) have no desire," [i.e., it will be a time when we receive the reward for our observance of Torah and mitzvos and not the time when we earn that reward.]
- (Back to text) See the Sichos of Shabbos Re'eh for an elaboration of these ideas.
- (Back to text) The seven days of creation represent a complete cycle of time which is repeated each week. This is alluded to in the line recited before the Song of the Day when we see "Today is the __ day of the week."
- (Back to text) The above three services are also paralleled by the three Patriarchs who endowed their spiritual potentials to every Jew. Thus, each Jew has the potential for these services within him.
- (Back to text) These services also include each other. Thus, the Torah commands us to love G-d "with all your heart, with all soul, and with all your might," three types of love reflecting how all these three qualities are all reflected in the quality of love. Similarly, the qualities of might (fear) and beauty are threefold in nature.
This interconnection relates to the law that a person who is involved in the performance of one mitzvah is free from the obligation to perform another. Since all the mitzvos are interrelated, the person shares a connection with the mitzvah which in actuality he does not fulfill because it is included (in a spiritual sense) in the mitzvah which he does fulfill.
- (Back to text) The mitzvah of tzedakah also has a threefold dimension. It involves the donor, the recipient, and the tzedakah which is given.