Elul Is Upon Us


Once again, we invite readers to share ideas on preparing for the Yemai HaDin, by telling us what special preparatory learning they will be going during Elul. This worked very well last year.

We are going to solicit two different responses: 1) What you are learning for general hisorerus and inspiration, and 2) What works you are using to make the davening of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

We hope that this will contribute to the teshuva of the rabbim.

My choices, at least for starters, are 1) Chovos HaLevavos, Sha’ar Cheshbon HaNefesh, and 2) the kuntrus on biur tefilla in the back of Sifsei Chaim

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Mr. Cohen
3 years 2 months ago

Yaarot Debash, Volume 1 of 2, Derush 1, page 1:

Fortunate is the person who does not allow one minute of them
[the ten days of repentance from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur]
to pass by without occupying himself with the service of G_d
and thoughts of repentance.

NOTE: The same concept probably applies to the entire Chodesh Elul.

ספר יערות דבש – חלק ראשון – דרוש א
ואשרי אנוש לא יעבור רגע אחד מהן בלי עסק בעבודת ה’ והרהור בתשובה

Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
3 years 2 months ago

Each year during Elul I  prepare an outline of all the important areas of my life: family, professional life, friends and relationships, religious, learning, etc. Every relationship in my family is evaluated. I then password-protect the document and save it. No one has access to the document, not even my wife. I list all of my specific goals for next year: where I  would like to improve, where I would like to continue to do well, what specifically I would like to achieve. I even write where i fell short. In preparing for this, I  review my outline from the previous year… Read more »

3 years 2 months ago

The maamar Kinyan haChaim by the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, which is about teshuva and Rosh Hashana and shiurim on Naaleh.com

Eddie Sherman
3 years 3 months ago

I found the Mabit’s shaar hateshuvah to be very clear and all encompassing.

3 years 3 months ago

My goal is to thoroughly study the works of the Spanish Rishonim, such as both Rabbeinu Bachyas, Yehuda HaLevi, the Rambam, the Ramban, Rabbeinu Yonah, the Abarbanel, and so on. Whether I actually achieve that goal, is another story. I remember sometime ago, it being mentioned that the Rishonim asked and magnificently answered all of the tough religious/philosophical questions of life. I cannot imagine a better way to wake one up to the reality and significance of G-d’s Existence.

dr. bill
3 years 3 months ago

cohen y, I assume that RAS ztl read the book. in any case my nephew, son, and two grand-nephews heard the same advice at Gush 20, 30 and 40 years later. read it and tell me what you think

Daniel Shain
3 years 3 months ago

Rabbi Adlerstein-

Which translation and/or commentary for chovos ha-levavos do you like/recommend?

[YA – I use/prefer the classic commentaries: Pas Lechem and Tov HaLevanon]

cohen y
3 years 3 months ago

The alte mirrers reserved Shaarei Tshuvah for Elul.

R’AS screamed at your rebbe(his chastened nephew) for an hour for saying that

Mr. Cohen
3 years 3 months ago

I suggest Shevet Mussar, written by Rabbi Eliyahu ben Avraham Shlomoh
HaKohen Itamari of Izmir (Turkey) who was born in 1650 and died in 1729.

dr. bill
3 years 3 months ago

Particularly the last two chapter on Mourning and Death in “Society & Self: On the Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik,” by Gerald Blidstein.

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, what my Rebbe called one of the great mussar works of the 20th century.

Any tape of any tshuvah drasha by the Rav ztl; the written word pales in comparison.

3 years 3 months ago

A rhetorical question, surely?
Koren Sacks Mahzor, of course.(Hopefully YK will be out soon)

Another Shmuel
3 years 3 months ago

1a.R’ Yehuda HaLevi’s description of the Chasid in the 3d Ma’amar of the Kuzari, to set my goals on what I should strive for in the big picture.

1b. The Chayei Adam’s list in Hilchot Yom HaKippurim of things that most everyone does wrong on a regular basis, in order to focus me on correcting those and identifying others that may be unique to me.

Neither of these is very long. I try to use them as something to review and then implement to the extent I can, rather than as an added seder for Elul.

3 years 3 months ago

Once again, I will be using the Sephardic machzor for Rosh HaShana n anticipation of kabbolas Ol Malchus Shamayim, with an emphasis on the piyutim; learning the ma’amar of the Ba’al HaTanya “Ani L’Dodi” with the accompanying commentaries of Chasidus Mevueres and Rav Moshe Weinberger’s audio shiurim; and progress through to the next shiur in AL HaTeshuva from Rav Soloveitchik.

3 years 3 months ago

1) שער התשובה & שער חשבון הנפש in חובות הלבבות
2) Rav Joseph Breuer’s commentary on the Rosh Hashana piyutim (The 2nd volume on the Yom Kippur piyutim is coming out at the end of August, so I guess I’ll be using that too)