Thursday, September 07, 2006

Elul by Ben

The Baal HaTurim writes that the words לולא האמנתי are a רמז to Elul, as the word לולא spells out אלול. It is said regarding bringing Binyomin going down to Mitzrayim כי לולא התמהמנו כי עתה שבנו זה פעמים, for had we not delayed, by now we could have returned twice. Following the style of the Baal HaTurim, this verse can be interpreted homiletically in two manners. One is that the Gemara states , אחרי הארי ולא אחרי האשה it is preferable to follow a lion than to follow a woman. The sefarim write that this alludes to the idea that the month of אב is represented by the מזל אריה, and the month of אלול is represented by the מזל בתולה. Thus, the Gemara is exhorting us to repent after the month of the ארי, i.e. the month of אב, rather than to repent after the אשה, i.e. the month of אלול. This is alluded to in the verse that states כי לולא התמהמנו כי עתה שבנו זה פעמים. If one had not delayed until לולא, which spells out אלול, one could have repented twice, i.e. after the month of אלול and after the month of אב. Alternatively, this verse can be explained by citing the famous contradiction. On the one hand it is said השיבנו ה' אליך ונשובה, where we ask HaShem, bring us back to You, HaShem, and we shall return. Yet a different verse states שובו אלי ואשובה אליכם, return to Me and I will return to you. Apparently we need both approaches, as we need HaShem to return to us so that we can return to HaShem. This is also alluded to in the above-mentioned verse. If we had not delayed, we could have returned “twice,” i.e. HaShem would have returned us and we would have then returned to Him. Let us merit that we do not delay any further and that we repent our ways and return to HaShem, and may we all merit being inscribed immediately in the Book of Life.

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