Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Full Moon of Elul - יָרֵחַ מָלֵא אלול



Today is the 13th day of the Jewish month of Elul (אלול). The yare'ach maley, full moon, is just around the corner. This month of introspection, of turning and returning to The Holy One, is almost half over, when the waxing moon will swell to her fullest, then wane through the days leading us to Rosh Ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year, the anniversary of the Creation of people.

To remind us that another New Year is coming and to awaken our yearning for teshuvah, repentance, each Elul morning except Shabbat my husband and I have prayed in our lush garden facing east, to Jerusalem, then blown the shofar on our back patio. We recite Tehilim/Psalm 27. We are truly blessed.

קידוש לבנה Qidush Levanah is the monthly sanctification of the moon, called levanah or yare'ach in Hebrew. According to various traditional sources, one must perform this ritual either the first moment one sees the moon in its new phase, or before the tenth day of the lunar month, or by the full moon at the latest. And always at night.

Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 42a gifts us with the words to bless this Heavenly body, although Ashkenazi and Sefardi customs differ. In essence we are praising The Holy One for for such marvelous creations, including the miracle of the moon's monthly rebirth. We see this as a symbol of G@d's promise to redeem all the Jewish People and to make us complete once more in the Land of Israel.

The gematria, numerological value, of Elul is 67. When one add this number to the gematrial of yare'ach, which is 218, we get 285. And what is 285 the number of?

רוח נדיבה - ru'ach nadivah - a charitable, generous open-hearted willing or ready spirit or essence. A giving, open-handed attitude. And guess what? It's feminine.

So when you bless the moon of Elul tonight or tomorrow, remember that The Holy One is waiting with open arms to warmly welcome you back for a New Year.

And say a shehechiyanu.

Copyright © A. Barclay

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