Today is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul. Every month in the Jewish calendar has a special focus. The focus of Elul is getting ready for the great and awesome day of Yom Kippur when we have all of our sins forgiven and cleansed if only we make proper preparation.
This means that we now have 40 days (30 days of Elul and 10 days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur) to prepare ourselves for the moment of Neilah at the end of Yom Kippur when every Jew places their soul in God's hands and asks that the coming year should be a good year.
The Kabbalists compare these 40 days to the 40 measures of water that are necessary to accomplish purification in a Mikveh (Ritual bath). If we spend some time each day focusing on making ourselves better and trying to correct our actions, then we will have the 40 measures required to accomplish purification.
Because of the great significance of these days, the Shofar is blown every day in the Synagogue to remind us to get ready. It is also customary to make an accounting of our Mitzvah performance. We try to fill in any Mitzvahs that we have not completed this year so that we can stand before God on Yom Kippur with our spiritual account in order.
One of the customs which is very widespread is to check our Mezuzahs and Tefillin during this month. Here is how it works:
- The first thing that needs to be checked is that we indeed have Kosher Mezuzahs on each door of our house that requires one.
- There may be rooms or doors which you are not sure if they require a Mezuzah or not. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to help you figure this out. Or better yet, post your question on our Facebook page so that others can benefit from the discussion.
- Next it is customary to remove your Mezuzahs and bring them to a certified Torah scribe to be inspected. Mezuzah scrolls are written on parchment which can dry out causing damage to the letters. The scribe will check them to make sure that none of the letters have cracked and that none of the scrolls have been damaged by weather. If you don't have a scribe near you, please call our store in Los Angeles at 310-278-4428 and we will be happy to instruct you about how to mail your scrolls in for checking. You are allowed to have your scrolls down for up to 30 days if necessary in order to have them checked.
As always, if you have any questions about Mezuzahs or Tefillin, I invite you to email me or post your question on our Facebook page and I will be happy to help you.
Wishing you, the entire Jewish People and the whole world a good, sweet year,