The Book of life is the consciousness of giving

Elul: the month of choice for life and compassion

The shofar is the sound of compassion

People often approach the high holidays with some feelings of guilt or dread. Much of this is based on misinterpretations of classical texts. Rabbi Ashlag, by teaching us the spiritual roots of the language helps us correct these faulty ideas and discover how wrong we have been. This particularly apples to the festivals of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, transforming them from occasions dreaded, to festivals of happiness and joy.

The Talmud states that on Rosh Hashanah three books are opened: the book of the righteous, the book of the wicked and that of those in-between. In the language of the Kabbalah “a book” is a vehicle of consciousness, “life” is the affinity of form with the Life of all Lives, and the wicked is the will to receive for ourselves alone. Thus we see that the books that are opened are consciousnesses within us and the judgement is our own. Which choices will we make? Let us pray to the Creator that we may choose that which gives goodness to our fellow and is compassionate, writing our postive selves for life and sustenance and letting die our ego- orientated selfish desires.

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Other talks for Elul:

Forty days of love: From Elul to Yom Kippur
Enjoying the month of Elul
Shame is a precious feeling

Shame. A feeling much maligned.

Shame according to the Talmud and the Kabbalah

Shame is a helpful feeling

Teshuvah is the key work of the month of Elul. It means returning to who we are really meant to be. A key element in this work is an honest look at ourselves and noting where we have gone wrong. This is the first and most important step in putting things right.

But because of the feeling of shame this arouses many of us put it off or defer it altogether. The feeling of shame has a bad press in our Western culture.

However, the Sages of the Talmud regarded it positively. They pointed out the feeling of shame comes because we have a Divine potential and it is an awareness of this potential which causes the feeling of shame and shows us where to set things right.

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Talk inspired from Ani l’Dodi, writings for the month of Elul, by Rabbi Chaim Sabato with understandings from the Kabbalah of Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag

Teshuvah in the time of love

Selichot at the Kotel

Selichot at the Kotel

The essence of the month of Elul is “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” Yet this doesn’t square with it being the month of Teshuvah, repentance. Or does it? It’s a time for repairing relationships till they reach the level of love they had before we messed up, whether they are relationships between ourselves and our fellows or ourselves and God. It is a time of Teshuvah, a time of coming back.
From Ani Ledodi by Rabbi Chaim Sabato with added inspiration from the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

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